If you’re an e-mail kamikaze, risking your own life every time you touch the keyboard, it’s time to do something about it. In our series of articles, we will give you a chance to learn about e-mailing culture and, hopefully, to become an e-mail ninja – a (wo)man who has mastered the complex art of writing electronic letters.
Let’s start with the famous “why?”. Why are you busy writing another email? Why do you reply to all of these, sometimes mundane and repetitive, messages? Why do you even click “send”? Think of how powerful your emails could be if you spent a minute or two thinking of what you want to achieve. Think of the choice of words, think of the emotions you might generate, the actions you can cause. Being reflective in that very field may reap fantastic benefits.
So what are the goals of the emails we write? Let’s face it, we either provide information or request it. Nevertheless, does it mean our emails boil down to exchanging data? There’s more to it than meets the eye. Messaging may basically be a means of keeping in touch with your friends, communicating with customers or supervisors, applying for a job, internship or scholarship, asking for feedback or even being a follow-up after a meeting, lesson or job interview. Millions of purposes translate into millions of ways of writing. Therefore, it’s worth remembering that your goals should affect the means.
Secondly, let’s talk engagement. The urban legend says that the e-mail era is long gone and it’s time for more interactive solutions. We couldn’t agree more that for longer conversations, the latest cutting-edge tools could only be an advantage. However, could you imagine your work without Outlook or any other e-mail solution? Yes, neither can we. When you ask yourself the “why” question, you should know what reaction you want to evoke in the receiver. It’s a myth that e-mails can’t be engaging – it’s up to you whether they are (or if they bore the receiver to death). Numerous decisions decide about that. All of them result in what we like to call “Email Culture”.
Let’s take an example of Donald’s e-mail seppuku:
Subject: Budget issues help needed
I would like to kindly ask you about the issue that we talk about 2,5 weeks ago and had great fun. As you know, we have to establish that ASAP. But I don’t know how. Could you be kind and give assistance, support and help? ? ? ? Amb btw, how is Tom doing? Still having these wife problems?
It would be great to start and decide something about the budget. Maybe we could meet some day? I have some time but then am off to holiday.
Let’s think – how would you respond to Donald’s e-mail? Would you know what the main topic is? What impression does it make on you? What would you think of the author? Do you know what Hillary needs to do and when? How do you like to style?
Being an e-mail ninja means awareness. Taking care of an email culture takes some effort, too: being productive, quick, obtaining what you want, simultaneously keeping the standard and style that everybody can admire are some of the requirements. We are going to discuss them in greater detail throughout this series. We will talk about the issues that “best practices” don’t cover. Why? Because we would like you to be confident, comfortable and good at what you do. We would like you to become Email Ninjas.
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