Email has become the primary communication tool for many neighborhood
organizations. Email is normally quick, reliable, allows for mass
communication and lets members respond in their own time. Below are some
tips to ensure your association emails are effective that were written
by Craig Strachan, who is a communications consultant.
- Be concise and to the point. Do
not make an e-mail longer than it needs to be. Reading
an e-mail is harder than reading printed communications
and a long e-mail can be very discouraging to read.
- Be clear as to the purpose of
the email Make sure that all recipients know exactly why
they are receiving the message. Is it for their information,
are they expected to respond, if so by when? It is
very annoying to receive an email when you are unsure
what you are supposed to do about it.
- Use proper structure & layout.
Reading from a screen is more difficult than reading
from paper, the structure and lay out is very important.
Use short paragraphs and blank lines between each
paragraph. When making points, number them or mark each
point as separate to keep the overview.
- Do not write in CAPITALS. IF
YOU WRITE IN CAPITALS IT SEEMS AS IF YOU ARE SHOUTING.
This can be highly annoying and might trigger an
unwanted and negative response.
- Pause before sending a
sensitive or aggressive email. Sometimes you receive an
email that makes you angry, and the instinct is to react
in an angry manner. When this happens, wait a few
minutes before replying. Often once you have calmed
down, you may feel very differently about the response.
If you are still angry, it may be better to respond via
- Read the email before you send
it. A lot of people donít bother to read an email before
they send it out, as can be seen from the many spelling
and grammar mistakes contained in emails. Reading your
email through the eyes of the recipient will help you
send a more effective message and avoid
misunderstandings and inappropriate comments.
- Do not attach unnecessary (or
large) files. Sending large attachments can annoy people
and can even bring down their e-mail system. Try to
compress attachments and only send attachments when they
are productive. Also, you need a good virus scanner
since people will not be very happy if you send them
documents full of viruses!
- Never have more than a few
people in the to: field. When sending an email, some
place all the email addresses in the To: field. There
are two drawbacks to this practice: (1) many mail
services block these messages as spam, and (2) you are
publicizing someone elseís email address without their
permission. One way to get round this is to place all
addresses in the Bcc: field.
- Do not use email to discuss
confidential information. Sending an email is like
sending a postcard. If you donít want your email to be
displayed on a bulletin board, donít send it. Moreover,
never make any libelous, sexist or racially
discriminating comments in emails, even if they are
meant to be a joke.
- Sometimes a phone call is
better. If you have many points or a very complex point
to discuss, it may be quicker to simply pick up the
phone and speak to the person. This is particularly
relevant when you may be discussing a sensitive topic.