Robert Collier, a pioneering American author in the field of self-help, once said that “success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” The subject of email etiquette lends itself perfectly to Mr. Collier’s concept. How many emails to you write each day? 10? 50? 150? A year’s worth of emails represents a vast sum of small efforts repeated daily. How would you rate the quality of your emails? Do they concisely convey your message or do they leave the recipient desperately trying to figure out the meaning of what you wrote? What type of tone do you use in your writing? Are your emails a true reflection of your AWESOMENESS or do you take shortcuts that may hide your sparkling personality, intelligence and professionalism? Some things to ponder:
- All email must be HIPAA compliant! If there is PHI, make sure to include “SECURE:” in the subject line and only email through the client’s system.
- Your subject line is your first impression. Make sure the subject line concisely summarizes the intent of your email. Good subject lines make emails easy to identify, sort, and prioritize. If the topic changes during an email exchange, change the subject line accordingly.
- Tone matters in both verbal and written communication. People hear the tone of your voice in your writing and it will affect how they interpret the intent of your message.
- State your business clearly and concisely in the body of the email.
- Do not email when you are angry, irritated, or annoyed. No good will come of this.
- If you find yourself rewriting your email several times because you don’t think your message is clear, this is an indication that you should pick up the phone. Sometimes voice to voice is best.
- Proofread and review: As with all correspondence re-read what you have written before you send. Spellcheck will not catch every mistake.
- Make sure to spell your recipient’s name correctly!
- Remember: The recipient of your email cannot read your mind. Write clearly!
- Keep in mind that there are times when a person’s impression of you will be based solely upon your email communication.
What do you think?
Daniel Land, RHIA, CCS