Email Etiquette – Top Tips
January 24, 2023
Email communication is an essential part of the day-to-day administration of a body corporate. It is how Lot owners can receive notices and submit their correspondence. Committees often use email to deliberate over email correspondence received and come to conclusions to then also instruct their strata managers to act.
Just about anyone has the capability to send and receive an email and often do since it is usually the simplest way to correspond while keeping a record of the communication. The most difficult element of administering emails is then for the recipient to determine what to do with the email sent to them which can vary depending on how clear the email content is and at times most difficult of all, determine if they are the intended recipient with the increasing over use of email carbon copy (cc) function.
Overuse of the cc function then reply all to cc often leads to emails multiplying unnecessarily, particularly for any recipient that has no reason to receive a cc or the reason is not initially stated requiring review of multiple responses to determine any relevance to them.
Read on for our top tips on how to effectively and efficiently use email to correspond in a strata environment and the right time to cc.
With email now the most common and convenient method, consideration to the subject, content, attachments, intended recipient and clear communication of action required has become increasingly important.
For efficiency, it is imperative that the recipient receives your email correspondence in a comprehendible manner and clearly identifies who you are. These fundamental elements are essential for the recipient to be able to consider correspondence without the need for clarification that can cause delays or the possibility of misinterpretations.
Here is our list of top tips to consider before you send your next email:
1- Is email appropriate?
When email correspondence is used appropriately, it can be a very effective and efficient method of communicating. Email should not be used as the only communication method though or treated as an instant message service expecting an immediate reply. That’s what conversations are for which can quickly happen by making a call when the subject requires urgent attention or back and forth discussion. Video call or arranging a face to face meeting is also an option for lengthier matters and what was discussed including the outcome can always be summarised in a follow up email when a record is required.
2- Who are the intended recipients?
A common mistake occurs when a recipient has been carbon copied in (Cc) to an email with little explanation of its relevance to them. This may make it difficult for the recipient to know if they need to action anything. Be clear about who you are seeking a response or action from. For a further information on what “Cc” in an email means, read this explainer Here with extracts listed at tips 3 and 4.
3- Who should be included in the cc field of an email?
The cc section should include anyone who is not the direct recipient of an email and anyone who doesn’t need their contact information hidden. You might use cc to keep stakeholders in the loop, introduce a new contact, make it clear that everyone involved has been informed, or send a copy of an email to your supervisor.
Cc should be reserved for the following people.
- Anyone who needs to see the email but may not necessarily respond
- A new person who needs to be introduced or would find the information useful
- A large group of people who are all working on the same project
When you cc someone, you do not need to address them in the email greeting. Start the email by addressing only those included in the “to” field.
4- When you should not use cc in email?
Cc is useful, but that doesn’t mean you should use it in every situation. Remember, cc is about etiquette. Be thoughtful about adding people to the cc field.
Avoid using cc in any of these cases:
- When you are sending sensitive information
- When you are expecting a response from that person
- Without the knowledge or consent of the primary recipient
- You are introducing people to a message or project that isn’t relevant to them
- You are using it in a passive-aggressive way. More on this subject Here
5- Is the subject line clear?
Ensure your subject line states the Body Corporate name and the matter for action or consideration. This will enable the reader to have a clear understanding of the subject and assist in dealing with your request.
6- Have you properly introduced yourself?
If you are emailing a new recipient, make sure you introduce who you are and where you are from (or position), as appropriate. It is important not to assume that a new recipient will know who you are based on assumptions such as your email address or the content. A suggested format could be:
- Introduction of who you are and what you are seeking;
- Who you are seeking a response from;
- Why you require the action or response; and
- What your expectations on the action or response are in terms of timeframes.
7- Do you really need to reply all?
Prior to selecting ‘reply all’, consider what you are expecting from the recipients and if it is absolutely necessary they are included. Do not assume that because you cc a recipient that they will act on a small section relevant to them in a lengthy email.
If there is a decision being considered via email, consider if all recipients need to be included along the way, particularly if the person acting on the decision simply needs the final outcome. An example of this could be a request for the committee is issued in the first instance to the body corporate manager for them to obtain the committee’s instructions prior to responding.
8- What tone are you using?
The use of capitalised words and exclamation marks can convey a message that the sender is shouting or angry. Appropriate words should be used to highlight importance or urgency. Be conscious of your audience and address the recipient(s) by name or group such as “committee” so that there is context to the message being delivered.
9- Sending attachments?
Alert the recipient to the attachment(s) and relevance to why you have sent it to them in the body of your email. Don’t forget to also check these are the correct attachments.
10- Have you proofread?
Sending emails with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes may result in the recipient(s) misinterpreting your message, which may cause delays in responding and frustration. Relying on spell check will help. Read your email prior to sending including final check of attachments and recipients suggested to be completed as a final step and double check before hitting “Send”.
11- Is your email a body corporate record?
Lastly and most importantly, remember that email correspondence forms part of the body corporate records. If you do not want your email to be included in the records for whatever reason, you should reconsider the content or communication method.
Although the introduction of email and smart phones has enabled us to communicate at all hours and while on the move, consideration to the reader/s still needs to be given. It is also important to note that the recipient may need to seek instructions before acting or responding to requests. This is in most cases for any body corporate decisions which means that you may not receive an instant response when the recipient does not hold authority to approve requests or provide the information sought.
This article was contributed by Grant Mifsud – Partner, Archers the Strata Professionals.