Using Email Effectively
◆In contrast to face-to-face communication, where
people can observe non-verbal cues, communication
through written correspondence relies heavily on
words to express meaning.
As Email and other internet-based technologies like
user groups have increased, this increased reliance
on words frequently results in miscommunication.
In a company where I once worked, a training workshop
was offered to help sales staff write clearer Email,
which had become a source of confusion and
To improve your Email communication, I recommend the
◆When involved in an exchange of Email with a user
group such as an entire sales team, avoid repeated
replies to long strings of messages.
Rather, summarize the contents of the messages to
which you are responding. Doing so spares recipients
the time-consuming task of re-reading others’
messages, which may be confusing.
◆Do not send out several separate emails with
instructions about or discussions of the same topic.
Carefully think through all that you want to say
first, then compose one Email.
If you write several Emails, the recipients may be
confused about whether all of the Emails are related
to the same topic.
They may also have difficulty completely
comprehending or integrating instructions appearing
in several separate Emails.
◆If Email exchanges lead to confusion or result in
misunderstanding, consider having a face-to-face
meeting, especially if feelings have been hurt, or
tempers have flared.
◆Avoid writing anything in an Email that you would
hesitate to say to a person during a face-to-face
In other words, be polite when you use Email, even
if you are discussing and issue that has upset you.
◆Organize your Emails carefully. Clearly indicate
the topic of the Email in the subject line.
In addition, include an introduction, body, and
conclusion, and use deductive logic to explain your
◆Use Email functions to highlight important elements
of your Emails.
Use bold or large fonts to underscore meeting times
and places, and underline or color-code main ideas
so they catch the readers’eye.
Avoid using CAPITAL letters for emphasis, because
they are the written equivalent of shouting at
◆Avoid excessive of flowery expressions in English
and keigo in Japanese in Emails (and letters) to
customers and business partners.
Focus on expressing your ideas clearly and politely
rather than strictly observing business formalities.