Discuss the effective use of email and instant messaging in business communication. A vital factor in successful global business and economic development is the effective use of knowledge and information. Companies must not only provide the means for their workers to access important information and communicate it internally but also must provide them with the tools to communicate with audiences who have decided to pay attention via websites and electronic messages. As you read in Chapter 1, the continuous evolution of technology has expanded communication options.
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Email, instant messaging (IM), web communications, and voice and wireless technologies are important tools for accomplishing company goals. Advantages of Email Electronic mail, known as email, has quickly become the most used communication tool in many organizations. Its ready availability, convenience, and ease of use have resulted in its skyrocketing popularity over the last decade. The advantages of email are numerous: It facilitates the fast, convenient flow of information among users at various locations and time zones.
Mail service is often too slow for communicating timely information, and the telephone system is inconvenient and costly when communicating with people located in several locations and time zones. For these reasons, email is especially effective when sending a single message to several recipients and when needing to communicate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It increases efficiency. Email reduces “telephone tag” and unnecessary telephone interruptions caused when delivering messages that are unlikely to require a verbal response.
It reduces costs. Sending email messages represents a substantial savings to companies in long-distance telephone costs and postal mail-outs. It reduces paper waste. Often, an electronic message can be read and immediately discarded without the need for a printed copy. © Digital Vision/Getty Images View PDF Guidelines for Preparing Email Messages The principles of written style and organization that you learn throughout this book are applicable to email messages. Other techniques are specific to email.
All of these tools will assist you in using informal communication channels more efficiently without jeopardizing the effectiveness of your message or damaging relationships with valuedcoworkers and outside parties. Back to Top P. 76 Bookmark Title: Top of Form Bottom of Form Standard Heading Email systems automatically show a heading format that includes To:, From:, Date:, and Subject: but the sender need only provide information for the To: and the Subject: lines.
Page 2 The positive and negative effects of globalization Essay
Sending anemail message to multiple recipients simply involves keying the email address of each recipient into a distribution list and selecting the distribution list as the recipient. Useful Subject Line The subject line expedites the understanding of the message by (1) telling the receiver what the following message is about, (2) setting the stage for the receiver to understand the message, and (3) providing meaning when the document is referenced at a later date. Additionally, a well-written subject line in an email message will help a receiver sort through an overloaded mailbox and read messages in priority order.
The following suggestions should be helpful in wording subject lines. Provide a useful subject line that has meaning for you and the receiver. Identifying key words will help you develop good subject lines. Think of the five W’s—Who, What, When, Where, and Why—to give you some clues for a useful subject line. Consider the following examples: View PDF Restate the subject in the body of the message. Opening sentences should not include wording such as “This is …” and “The above-mentioned subject …” The body of the message should be a complete thought and should not rely on the subject line for elaboration.
A good opening sentence might be a repetition of most of the subject line. Even if the reader were to skip the subject line, the message would still be clear, logical, and complete. © Comstock Images/Jupiterimages View PDF Single Topic Directed Toward the Receiver’s Needs What do you hope to accomplish as a result of the message? Being clear in your purpose will enable you to organize and develop the content of your message and tailor your message to show how the receiver will benefit. An email message is generally limited to one idea rather than addressing several issues.
If you address more than one topic in a single email message, chances are the recipient will forget to respond to all points discussed. Additionally, discussing one topic allows you to write a descriptive subject line that will accurately describe your purpose and effectively compete for the receiver’s attention—especially when the subject line appears in an overcrowded inbox. The receiver can transfer the single subject message to a separate mailbox folder for quick, accurate access. Lengthy messages may be divided into logical sections.
Using headings to denote the divisions will capture receiver attention and simplify comprehension. Sequence of Ideas Based on Anticipated Reader Reaction Use empathy to determine a logical, efficient sequence of information that will gain the reaction you want from the receiver. As you learned previously, ideas should be organized deductively when a message contains good news or neutral information; inductive organization is recommended when the message contains bad news or is intended to persuade.
In addition, email messages may use other bases for determining the sequence of ideas—for example, time (reporting events in the order in which they happened), order of importance, and geography. As a general rule of thumb, present the information in the order it is likely to be needed. For example, describe the nature and purpose Back to Top P. 77 Bookmark Title: Top of Form Bottom of Form of an upcoming meeting before giving the specifics (date, place, time). Otherwise, the receiver may have to reread portions of the email to extract the details.
Careful Use of Jargon, Technical Words, and Shortened Terms You are more likely to use jargon and technical terms in email messages than in business letters. Because people doing similar work are almost sure to know the technical terms associated with it, jargon will be understood, will not be taken as an attempt to impress, and will save time. For the same reasons, acronyms, abbreviations, and shortened forms, such as info, rep, demo, pro, and stat, are more useful in email messages than in letters. In practicing empathy, however, consider whether the receiver will likely understand the terms.
Remember that an international receiver or an external business partner may not understand your jargon or shortened language. Graphic Highlighting Graphical treatment is appropriate whenever it strengthens your efforts to communicate. Enumerated or bulleted lists, tables, graphs, pictures, or other images may be either integrated into the content of the email or attached as supporting material. The email message in Figure 5-1 illustrates guidelines for using this informal communication channel effectively in a professional setting.
The director of loan compliance begins her email message to the loan officer with a short sentence alerting the loan officer to the new mortgage policies. The short paragraphs that follow include timely information and refer to the attachment. The message Figure 5-1 Good Example of an Email Message View PDF Back to Top P. 78 Bookmark Title: Top of Form Bottom of Form closes by inviting the reader to stop by the director’s office if she has any questions. While email offers various advantages in speed and convenience, problems arise when it is used inappropriately.
The following guidelines will direct you in the effective use of email messages. Effective Use of Email Established standards of online behavior have emerged to help online communicators send and receive email messages that are courteous while enhancing communication effectiveness and productivity. Learning fundamental netiquette , the buzzword for proper behavior on the Internet, will assure your online success. Check mail promptly. Generally, a response to email is expected within 24 hours. Ignoring messages from coworkers can erode efforts to create an open, honest, and cooperative work environment.
On the other hand, responding every second may indicate that you are paying more attention to your email than your job. Do not contribute to email overload. To avoid clogging the system with unnecessary messages, follow these simple guidelines: © Dino Ablakovic/iStockphoto. com View PDF Be certain that individuals need a copy of the email, and forward an email from another person only with the original writer’s permission. Never address an email containing action items to more than one person to ensure a response.
This practice supports the old adage “Share a task between two people, and each takes 1% responsibility. ”1 Avoid sending formatted documents. Messages with varying fonts, special print features (e. g. , bold, italics, etc. ), and clip art take longer to download, require more storage space, and may be unreadable on some computers. In addition, enhancing routine email messages does not support the goals of competitive organizations, and employees and clients/ customers may resent such frivolous use of time.
Edit the original message when you reply to email if the entire body of the original message is not needed for context. Instead, you can cut and paste pertinent sections within a reply that you believe will help the recipient understand your reply. You can also key brief comments in all caps below the original section. Follow company policy for personal use of email, and obtain a private email account if you are job hunting or sending many private messages to friends and relatives. Use email selectively.
Send short, direct messages for routine matters that need not be handled immediately (scheduling meetings, giving your supervisor quick updates, or addressing other uncomplicated issues). Do not send messages when you are angry. Email containing sensitive, highly emotional messages may be easily misinterpreted because of the absence of nonverbal communication (facial expressions, voice tone, and body language). Sending a flame , the online term used to describe a heated, sarcastic, and sometimes abusive message or posting, may prompt a receiver to send a retaliatory response.
Email messages written in anger and filled with emotion and sarcasm may end up as evidence in litigation. Because of the potential damage to relationships and legal liability, read email messages carefully before clicking “Send. ” Unless a response is urgent, store a heated message for an hour until you have cooled off and thought about the issue clearly and rationally. When you must respond immediately, you might acknowledge that your response is emotional and has not been thoroughly considered. Give this warning by using words such as Back to Top P. 79 Bookmark Title:
Top of Form Bottom of Form “I need to vent my frustration for a few paragraphs” or “flame on—I’m writing in anger. ”2 Exercise caution against email viruses and hoaxes. An ounce of prevention can avert the problems caused by deadly viruses that destroy data files or annoying messages that simply waste your time while they are executing. Install an antivirus software program that will scan your hard drive each time you start the computer or access external devices, and keep backups of important files. Be suspicious of email messages from people you don’t know that contain attachments.
Email text is usually safe to open, but the attachment may contain an executable file that can affect your computer’s operations. Social networking sites, such as Facebook and MySpace, are also common sources of viruses and spyware. Additionally, be wary of computer hoaxes— email messages that incite panic typically related to risks of computer viruses or deadly threats and urge you to forward them to as many people as possible. Forwarding a hoax can be embarrassing and causes inefficiency by overloading email boxes and flooding computer security personnel with inquiries from alarmed recipients of your message.
If a hoax is forwarded to you, reply to the person politely that the message is a hoax. This action allows you to help stop the spread of the malicious message and will educate one more person about the evils of hoaxes. Develop an effective system for handling email. Some simple organization will allow you to make better use of your email capability: Set up separate accounts for receiving messages that require your direct attention. Keep your mailbox clean by deleting messages you are not using and those not likely to be considered relevant in a lawsuit.
Set up folders to organize messages for quick retrieval. If you receive many messages, consider purchasing an email handler to sort and prioritize messages, send form letters as replies to messages received with a particular subject line, automatically forward specified email, and sound an alarm when you receive a message from a particular person. Instant Messaging IM or chat, represents a blending of email with conversation. This real-time email technology allows you to maintain a list of people with whom you want to interact.
You can send messages to any or all of the people on your list as long as the people are online. Sending a message opens up a window in which you and your contact can key messages that you both can see immediately. Figure 5-2 illustrates a sample IM conversation that occurred as a follow-up to the loan compliance director’s email message in Figure 5-1. © Bulent Ince/iStockphoto. com View PDF Back to Top P. 80 Bookmark Title: Top of Form Bottom of Form Figure 5-2 Good Example of an Instant Message View PDF Business use of IM has experienced phenomenal growth.
Analysts estimate that in 90 percent of companies some employees use IM, whether to close a sale, collaborate with a colleague, or just trade pleasantries with a colleague. 3 The best-known IM programs are free and require no special hardware and little training. With some programs, users can exchange graphics and audio and video clips. Many of the guidelines that apply to the use of email for business purposes apply also to IM. With IM, however, spelling and grammar matter less when trading messages at high speed. IM users often use shorthand for common words and phrases.
IM and telephone communication also share common challenges: being sure that the sender is who he or she claims to be and that the conversation is free from eavesdropping. Some managers worry that employees will spend too much work time using IM to chat with buddies inside and outside the company. They also emphasize that IM is not the right tool for every business purpose; employees should still rely on email when they need a record and use the telephone for the personal touch. Email and the Law
Remember that you are responsible for the content of any electronic message you send. Because © iStockphoto. com View PDF email moves so quickly between people and often becomes very informal and conversational, individuals may not realize (or may forget) their responsibility. If a person denies commitments made via email, someone involved may produce a printed copy of the email message as verification. Email communicators must also abide by copyright laws. Be certain to give credit for quoted material and seek permission to use copyrighted text or graphics from printed or electronic sources.
Unless you inform the reader that editing has occurred, do not alter a message you are forwarding or re-posting, and be sure to ask permission before forwarding it. The courts have established the right of companies to monitor the electronic mail of an employee because they own the facilities and intend them to be used for job-related communication only. On the other hand, employees typically expect that their email messages should be kept private. Email has often become the prosecutor’s star witness—the corporate equivalent of DNA evidence, as it and other forms of electronic communication are subject to subpoena in litigation.
Several perils of “evidence” mail that companies must address are illustrated in these cases:4 Including inappropriate content can humiliate and lead to conviction. Emails such as the one sent by a JPMorgan Chase banker Back to Top P. 81 Bookmark Title: Top of Form Bottom of Form © ImageState-Pictor/ImageState/Jupiterimages View PDF warning a colleague to “shut up and delete this email” or the emails exchanged by Wall Street investment houses discussing increasing stock ratings to “please investment clients” are likely to be used in court as evidence of inappropriate business behaviors.
Failing to preserve or destroying email messages in violation of securities rules is a sure path to destruction. Arthur Andersen’s destruction of Enron-related messages led to a criminal conviction and eventually to Enron’s implosion. Using inability to locate emails and other relevant documents demanded by the courts (negligence) is unacceptable to the courts. Penalties have included monetary fines assessment of court costs or attorney’s fees and dismissal of the case in favor of the opposing side.
On the other hand, evidence mail can protect a company from lawsuits. A company being sued by a female employee because a male executive had allegedly sexually abused her retrieved a trail of emails with lurid attachments sent by the female employee to the male executive named in the case. 5 To avoid the legal perils of email employees must be taught not to write loose potentially rude and informal email messages; to avoid casually deleting emails; and to take the time to identify and organize relevant emails for quick retrievalSee More on Communication, Internet