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Writing Effective E-Mail: Improving Your Electronic Communication

Book Description

Nancy Flynn is founder and executive director of The ePolicy Institute™ an organization devoted to helping employers reduce electronic liabilities, while helping employees enhance their e-mail writing and e-mail management skills. Through the ePolicy Institute Speakers’ Bureau, Ms. Flynn delivers keynote speeches and conducts e-mail writing, e-mail management, and e-policy seminars for corporations, associations, and government entities throughout North America and around the globe. As you read through the material, you will quickly experience the interactive nature of the book. There are numerous exercises, real-world case studies, and examples that invite your opinion, as well as checklists, tips, and concise summaries that reinforce your understanding of the concepts presented.

Coverage includes:

  • To review workplace e-mail risks and suggest strategies for writing safe and secure e-mail to help keep the organization in business and out of court.

  • To explore the role clear and concise e-mail plays in positioning both employees and organizations before internal and external audiences.

  • To review strategies for writing persuasive e-mail messages that are opened and acted upon—not ignored and deleted—by readers.

  • To discuss technological tools and common-sense techniques to help senders and receivers successfully manage, organize, and transmit their e-mail.

Table of Contents

  1. Learning Objectives For: WRITING EFFECTIVE E-MAIL
  2. About the Authors
  3. Dedication
  4. How to Use This Book
  5. Introduction
  6. Assessing Your Responses: Where You Stand in Relation to Other E-Mail Users
  7. Think Before You E-Mail
    1. Beware Potential Perils
      1. E-Mail Is Never Secure
      2. Big Brother May Be Reading Over Your Electronic Shoulder
      3. Smoking Gun E-Mail Triggers Workplace Lawsuits
      4. Productivity Is Lost When Cyber-Slackers Log On
      5. E-mail Misuse and Abuse May Get You Fired
      6. E-Mail Can Be E-mbarrassing
      7. E-Mail Abuse Impacts Revenues and Also Reputations
      8. Security Breaches Cost Dollars and Jobs
      9. Your Employer May Sue You
    2. Deciding When to Use E-Mail
    3. Addressing Your E-Mail Message
      1. Sending E-Mail to Individual Recipients
      2. Reaching Multiple Readers
      3. Using Group Lists
      4. Listserv® Guidelines
    4. Replying to E-Mail Messages
      1. Formatting Your Reply
      2. Requesting a Receipt
      3. Sending a Priority Message
    5. E-Mailing to International Audiences
  8. Composing Your E-Mail Message
    1. Collecting Your Thoughts with the Five Ws
    2. Writing Subject Lines with Real Oomph
      1. Tips for Writing Powerful Subject Lines
      2. Serving Multiple Audiences with a Single Subject Line
    3. Incorporating a Salutation and Signature
      1. Creating a Signature File
    4. Grabbing the Reader’s Attention: The Lead
      1. Understanding the Lead’s Role
      2. Sample Leads, Weak and Strong
    5. Organizing with the Inverted Pyramid
      1. Formula for E-Mail Success
    6. Comparing Chronological Writing
    7. Getting Started in Three Easy Steps
  9. Keys to Effective E-Mail
    1. Striving for Simplicity
      1. The Benefits of Short, Simple Sentences
      2. Editing to be Concise
    2. Writing with Power...or Paste?
      1. Rub Out the Paste
    3. Eliminating Mechanical Errors
    4. Spelling Counts!
      1. Five Electronic Spelling Tips
    5. Using the Active Voice
      1. Activate the Sentence
    6. Avoiding Sexist Language
      1. Keeping Your E-Mail Gender-Neutral
  10. Polishing Your Cybermanners
    1. Setting the Right Tone
      1. Relaxing Your Grammar
    2. Dodging Conversational Pitfalls
      1. Humor
      2. Clichés
      3. Technical Language
      4. Abbreviations
      5. Acronyms
    3. Watch Your Cyberlanguage
      1. Consider Technological Tools to Control Content
    4. Extinguishing Flames
      1. Controlling the Urge to Flame
    5. Punctuating with Smileys and Shorthand
    6. Reviewing Netiquette Guidelines
      1. Put Netiquette into Practice
    7. Netiquette Guidelines for Managers
  11. Formatting Your E-Mail Message
    1. Selecting Format Settings
      1. Maintain Appropriate Margins
      2. Choose the Right Font
      3. Select Appropriate Colors
    2. Enhancing Readability
      1. Resisting the Urge to Use All Upper- or Lowercase Letters
      2. Emphasizing Electronic Text
      3. Arranging Text into Vertical Lists
    3. Sending Attachments with Care
      1. Attaching Files Step-By-Step
    4. Battling Electronic Viruses
  12. Managing E-Mail Overload
    1. Controlling Your In-Box Clutter
    2. Reducing Spam Intake
    3. Organization-Wide E-Mail Management
      1. Devise Your Own E-Strategies
    4. Devising an E-Mail Policy for Your Organization
    5. Using a Sample E-Mail Policy as a Guide
  13. APPENDIX
    1. Drafting Electronic Writing Style Guidelines for Your Organization
    2. Directory of E-Mail Hardware
      1. Desktop/Network E-Mail
      2. Web E-Mail
      3. Instant Messaging
      4. Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs)
      5. Two-Way Text Pagers
      6. Cell Phones
      7. Which Device Is Right for You?
      8. Mind Your Electronic Manners
    3. Author’s Suggested Responses
      1. Composing Your E-Mail Message
      2. Keys to Effective E-Mail
      3. Polishing Your Cybermanners
      4. Managing E-Mail Overload
    4. Recommended Reading
      1. Bibliodiv
    5. A Glossary of E-Mail Terms
    6. About The ePolicy Institute™