1. Pullen, Richard L. Jr. EdD, MSN, RN, CMSRN, CNE-cl, ANEF

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Q: What are some strategies that should be used in professional email communication?

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A: A person in a professional role spends 25% of their workday communicating by email-an exchange of information between two or more people that should have a courteous and respectful tone as if all parties are engaging in a face-to-face and collaborative interaction. A carefully crafted email should have a clear and concise message and reflect a professional persona from the person sending it.


Here are some tips for creating a professional email.


* Think about who you need to communicate with in an email, why the email is necessary, and when you should send it.


* Include a short description about the topic in the subject line.


* A professional email always begins with a greeting, followed by the person's name or title. For example, "Dear Mr. Jones," "Dear Ms. Jones," "Dear Professor Jones," "Hello Dr. Jones," or "Good morning, Professor Jones." A more casual greeting, such as "Morning, Mark," "Hi Susan," or "Hello Susan," is appropriate among colleagues and friends. People tend to feel more valued when an email includes a greeting with their name or title.


* Include sufficient detail to convey your message in the body of the email. Keep the email as short as possible. When a longer email is necessary, break it into individual sentences or paragraphs to make reading easier.


* Avoid the use of all capital letters. This tends to come across as shouting.


* Don't use humor.


* Avoid disclosing sensitive or confidential information.


* In general, don't "reply all." The "reply all" option is useful when there's an ongoing conversation among people or a special occasion or circumstance in which everyone needs to know your information. Acknowledge the ideas of others and commend them for their work when engaging in a conversation with groups of people in an email.


* Use statements such as "Please reply at your earliest convenience" rather than "Please reply as soon as possible."


* Don't use strange fonts, colors, or emoticons or symbols.


* A professional email always includes a closing. For example, "Thank you," "Sincerely," "Best," "Regards," "Best regards," "Kind regards," or "Respectfully" are appropriate. Use "Thank you" rather than "Thanks" because it's more personalized.


* Your name, title, and contact information should follow the closing.


* Use correct spelling and grammar. Remember to proofread your email before you send it.


* Respond to email sent to you. A pattern of unresponsiveness may be perceived by the sender that their emails aren't important to you. A response such as "Thank you," "Got it," or "I'll get back with you soon" is appropriate and sufficient, especially if you're inundated with emails every day.



Email communication is an effective tool to exchange information with others; however, a follow-up conversation by phone/videoconferencing or in person is sometimes necessary.


The emails you send reflect who you are as a person and a professional. Clearly written emails, framed around respect for people, will help you convey your message.




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