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Appropriate and Effective Electronic Communication Customized & Workplace Training City of Portland/Portland Community College Facilitated by George Knox.

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Presentation on theme: "Appropriate and Effective Electronic Communication Customized & Workplace Training City of Portland/Portland Community College Facilitated by George Knox."— Presentation transcript:

1 Appropriate and Effective Electronic Communication Customized & Workplace Training City of Portland/Portland Community College Facilitated by George Knox

2 Some E-Statistics … There are 684 million e-mail users and 1.2 billion e-mail boxes worldwide 76.8 billion messages are sent each day 57% of all e-mail traffic is spam 48% of corporate e-mail traffic is spam and will grow to 64% in 2008 Source: The Radicati Group, May 2005

3 Electronic Communications: Overview Importance of proper e- mail and Internet use Etiquette: Expectations, problems and solutions Strategies for success Discussion?

4 Why is proper e-communication important? Legal Restrictions and Implications Company Policy Professionalism Effective Communication Functionality

5 Legal Restrictions and Implications Public Domain The CAN-SPAM Act “Annoying E-mail” – Cyberstalking/VAWA Fraud (Phishing, Pharming and Crimeware) Harassment Non-disclosure Ownership Issues

6 Liability Issues: Risks “Technical” Liability –Negligence –Breach of Warranty –“Strict Liability in Tort(e)” Marketing Liability –“Uniform Commercial Code” –Expressed Warranty of Description Other Areas of Liability –Privacy –Financial –Employment

7 Liability Issues: Protections Accuracy –Check for clear interpretations and findings –Do not suppress knowledge or data –Do not exaggerate claims or data Ownership –Confirm copyright, trademarks, etc.

8 Liability Issues: Avoiding Problems Be accurate (factual, precise) Know your audience to minimize risk –Needs and expectations –Abilities (“reasonable person”) Document your work –Sources/Citations –Paper trail –Data records –Copies of correspondence Get approval of your work –“Sign off” –Feedback from peers and target audience Use waivers/consent forms

9 Some things to remember … Use of the computer network is limited by company policy –Business use only –Some personal use usually permitted –Access may be limited or terminated –Users may be monitored and recorded

10 Some things to remember … Content (e-mails and attachments) owned by company –Content usually stored or backed up –Content may be accessed by officials for business use including disciplinary action/termination

11 Professionalism/Effectiveness Poorly written and/or poorly managed e-communication reflects on you and your company’s reputation. It also may hamper your audience’s understanding of your message. Well executed e-communication works better to get your message across.

12 Functionality Inappropriate or flawed use of e-mail affects delivery and flow of e- mail, the need for additional resources and time to handle problems, and the willingness of others to open and read e-mail.

13 Common E-mail Mistakes Address errors Long messages or attachments Misleading or vague subject lines Inappropriate content Lack of discretion in responses Inappropriate copying and forwarding Source: John Edwards, “The Six Most Common Mistakes in Sending E-mail”, Bottom Line Business, October 1997.

14 E-mail Etiquette Problem Areas Problems can occur in various ways for e-mail senders Header Info Content Sending, Replying, Forwarding

15 Header Info – To: & From: Problems to avoid: Inaccurate recipient or sender e-mail addresses (It won’t get there) A long list of multiple recipients “Showing” list of recipients when inappropriate (especially outside e-mail)

16 Header Info – To: & From: Good e-mail practices: Proof all e-mail addresses Add commonly used addresses to contact list/address book Use CC: and BCC: when appropriate Use BCC: or mail merge for mass mailings Consider a listserv for frequent/periodic e- mail to a long list of recipients Send copy to self or save in Outbox to confirm recipients

17 Header Info – Subject: Problems to avoid: Misleading subject description Vague subject description Informal subject description Long, complex subject description Multiple subjects Misused “Priority” options

18 Header Info – Subject: Good e-mail practices: Keep subject description short but informative Use as title/heading for document Keep e-mail focused on one subject Use “Priority” options only when necessary Consider using subject labels, like ACTION, FYI, RE:, URGENT, etc. Remember: Unclear subject lines may lead to unread or deleted messages

19 Header Info – CC: & BCC: Problems to avoid: Copying without a reason Copying routine messages Copying to inappropriate recipients Using CC: and BCC: interchangeably Failing to copy to self (or to save to outbox)

20 Header Info – CC: & BCC: Good e-mail practices: Copy messages needing action, progress report or documentation Copy to appropriate recipients Use CC: for recorded copy; use BCC: for unrecorded copy Keep a copy of sent e-mails

21 Heading Info: Attachments Only send necessary attachments (if cannot be sent within e-mail) If not an MS Office format, check to see if format can be opened Note attachment and format in e-mail body Try not to attach large files or multiple files (Upload and e-mail link as alternative)

22 Content: Meaning, Tone and Style E-mail feels “conversational”, but it isn’t. Like all business communications, it is purposeful and targets a specific audience. The goal is to send a clear message that is received, understood and acted upon by the receiver.

23 Content: Meaning Certain kinds of messages should NOT be sent via e-mail: –Confidential information (usually) –Disciplinary action or performance reviews –Complaints concerning individuals –Negotiations or complex information These messages should be initially handled by phone or face-to-face to avoid misunderstanding or third party disclosure.

24 Content: Meaning Language Issues Avoid jargon and acronyms for outside audiences Be careful of clichés, slang, puns, and sports references for overseas audiences Write out dates to avoid confusion

25 Content: Meaning Quoting in Replies Only include the entire message or thread of previous postings if needed Cut and paste relevant parts of previous messages Do not send a long quote with a short “Me too!” message

26 Content: Meaning Practice good business writing –Single topic for each e-mail –Precise, direct language for clarity –Short, well-organized paragraphs for ease of reading –Clear request for action when appropriate –Proofread for clarity and effectiveness

27 Content: Tone Because e-mail lacks verbal and non-verbal cues, it may convey tone or emotion not intended. Avoid humor, irony and sarcasm Emoticons ;-) may help some readers, but are too informal for business documents Do not use “all caps” as this may be considered SHOUTING at readers

28 Content: Tone Flaming: The expression of extreme emotion or opinion in an e-mail message, usually directed at someone or at a group –Unlike phone or personal conversations, e- mails may be saved, forwarded, printed –Flaming tends to generate flaming in response –Flaming may be caused by misinterpreting meaning or motives not intended by the original sender –Flaming can affect morale and image

29 Content: Tone To avoid flaming: Do not send an immediate response Reread the original message Draft a response with relevant facts or evidence Re-read your response before sending Instead of responding via e-mail, call or meet with the sender to “break the cycle”

30 Content: Style E-mail readers want a short, easy to read business document so … Include a salutation or use receiver’s name in first sentence Use word-wrap Single-space within paragraphs and double- space between paragraphs Write in complete sentences Include a signature block Use stationary only if appropriate/accepted

31 Content: Style Make e-mail easy to read and understand Put important points near beginning Use short paragraphs Include subheadings and lists Check spelling and grammar

32 Sending, Replying, Forwarding E-mail is a “public” posting tool for documents. Once sent, the document cannot be retrieved. This makes proper delivery of e-mail vital to proper e-mail etiquette. Don’t send anything you wouldn’t want published!

33 Sending, Replying, Forwarding When sending e-mail … Reread message and list of recipients before sending Only send messages to involved or interested parties Only send broadcast messages when appropriate and relevant Only use Return Receipt when needed

34 Sending, Replying, Forwarding When replying to e-mail … Reread message before sending Confirm e-mail address(es) for reply Only use “Reply to All” when needed Remember that mail list/listserv responses usually go to all members

35 Sending, Replying, Forwarding When forwarding e-mail … Include a short explanation with forward Confirm e-mail address(es) for forward Only forward to interested/involved parties Consider whether permission to forward is appropriate or necessary

36 Sending, Replying, Forwarding Do NOT send, reply to, or forward: –E-mail containing inappropriate content –E-mail with attachments from unknown senders –Attachments that are executable files (.exe) –Spam, chain letters, virus hoaxes, etc.

37 Miscellaneous Tips Use an effective e-mail signature –Name and contact info –5-6 lines maximum –Include e-mail address Use separate e-mail accounts for business and personal correspondence Keep copies of all important messages sent and received Use filters to manage e-mail “load”

38 Summary of Etiquette Guidelines Keep e-mail messages concise, professional and relevant Proof your message before sending Revise and edit as needed Do not e-mail complex, sensitive or confidential messages Quote sparingly Confirm recipients’ interest, involvement, and addresses Use a clear Subject line Send attachments only when necessary Use discretion when replying to e-mail Do not flame Do not send/forward inappropriate material

39 E-mail Strategies for Success Think of P.A.T. before you write –Purpose (What are you trying to say? What are your desired results?) –Audience (What do they need to receive your message? What do they want from your document? What are barriers to communication? ) –Technique (Based on my Purpose and the Audience’s needs/wants, how do I best write and deliver my message?)

40 E-mail Strategies for Success Compose offline –Write your e-mail message using your word processing program, then paste into your e- mail –Avoids hasty messages and accidental sending –Allows for proofing and editing with easy spell and grammar check

41 E-mail Strategies for Success Don’t hurry an e-mail –Leave time to check recipients, addresses and attachments –Reread your message for meaning, tone and style –Run spelling and grammar check –Make sure it’s “ready to go”

42 Proofreading Revisited Proof at least twice –Content (purpose, meaning, accuracy, emphasis, tone) –Mechanics (grammar, spelling, punctuation, style, document design) Mark errors, don’t fix them Organize your approach to proofing –Proof in “chunks” –Read silently and aloud –Checklist? Then revise and edit as needed!

43 E-Communications Resources Netiquette by Virginia Shea – How 11 (Handbook for Office Workers) by Lyn R. Clark, James Leland Clark Can I FAX You a Thank You Note? by Audrey Glassman FTC (Federal Trade Commission) SPAM Homepage – Robert Slade’s Guide to Computer Viruses: How to avoid them, how to get rid of them, and how to help by Robert Slade

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