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AAC F A M I L Y & F R I E N D S Electronic


it certainly isn’t as time-consuming as making phone calls. Commandment 2


“Tou shalt be clear and direct, but polite”


Email can be an abrupt medium, and directness can be mistaken for rudeness. I have heard people complain about an email’s “tone.” A good rule of thumb is to address the person by name in the opening of your message and close with your name. Maybe it was the perceived tone of my text that set off the senator. Tat was not my intention. Remember: Clear and direct, but polite. Te No. 1 thing to keep in mind when communicating digitally is that tone and attitude are not easily conveyed in writing, and you are not able use body language to help recipients infer what you mean. Many people tend to slip in emoticons like smiley faces or abbreviated “textspeak” like “LOL” to suggest tone and humor. But more often than not, these additions are seen as unprofessional and should not be used in professional messages. Put yourself in the recipients’ shoes and figure out how they may perceive the information you’re sending.


“Tou shalt read each email thou composes twice, maybe thrice before sending.”


Commandment 3


Tis includes checking who you’re sending it to. You may accidentally send a message to someone you didn’t intend to. (Something I did once ... embarrassing to say the least.) One of these read-throughs should be to check for gram- mar, spelling and punctuation. I once got an email from a job applicant responding to a


request for an interview. Te email looked as if it had been written by someone who didn’t pass the fourth grade; it was full of misspellings and grammatical mistakes. Needless to say this person left a terrible impression and did not get the job. In fact, why not double the eyes. If what you’re sending is important, or if the impression you need to make on the recipient is crucial, write your email and then get a second opinion. It doesn’t need to be someone with a writing or editing background, just someone who will give you hon- est feedback about the tone and how your correspondence might be received. Also, it is really not appropriate to send sensitive or con- fidential information via email. Tere are some things that should simply be done in person, such as firing someone or taking disciplinary action with an employee. So if you have to send something sensitive, read it three times, make sure it’s OK to send, and take a deep breath or wait a day before


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sending. It’s easy to hit “Send” in the heat of the moment and regret it later.


“Tou shalt ask the question ‘Is this really neces- sary to send at all?’”


Commandment 4


Our inboxes are full of emails that really didn’t need to be sent to us. Be careful of using “CC” and “Reply to All.” Tey are not necessary in many instances. If you must for- ward something, be sure to include an explanation and more than just an FYI. You want your messages to be read. But if you are sending too many unnecessary emails, it could be like the boy who cried wolf — your important messages will be missed.


Commandment 5 “Tou shalt be considerate.”


Avoid emailing, taking phone calls or text messaging in meetings, while driving or at the dinner table. I have been an offender of this. It’s fun to email your coworkers and friends when you’re in a boring meeting, but it’s also the height of rudeness. Have you ever been to a meeting in which several people are using their electronic devices to respond to emails or texts? I don’t think anything could be much more distracting, unless it’s a cell phone ringing.


“Tou shalt remember that email is a communications tool.”


Commandment 6


Try not to become a slave to your computer or smart- phone. Back when the Blackberry was the “in thing,” we would have said don’t let the Blackberry become a “crack- berry.” It’s your tool to communicate; you should be able to shut if off once in a while.


“Tou shalt make the subject line stand out.” Always include a subject line in an email. Keep it simple, but informative. Ensure the subject line is clear and some- thing the recipient cares about. People often decide whether or not to open an email based on the subject line.


Commandment 7 “Tou shalt format properly.” Commandment 8


How you format your email can impact how your mes- sage is perceived. For example, USING ALL CAPS is the digital version of shouting. If your intention was to shout,


See “ELECTRONIC” on Page 74 >>> COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2017


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