Are you creating a positive, professional impression when you email your co-workers and customers? Or, is Miss Manners shrieking in horror every time you hit the send button? Are you being efficient and effective when you send messages, or are you wasting time? To find out, take this fun quiz.
1. The tone of a professional email message should be:
c. Casual – like the tone you use with friends.
d. “Yo, dude! Whassup?"
Answer: A. You may be as casual as you like with friends, breaking all the grammar and punctuation rules you want. But, that isn’t true for communicating with clients and colleagues. Business correspondence should be professional. In email, professional translates into conversational – not too casual and not too formal.
2. One method to achieve a conversational tone is to:
a. Use slang terms and jargon.
b. Use contractions.
c. Use acronyms.
d. Stand up and yell across the office. See if you can start “the wave. "
Answer: B. When you speak in a conversation, you use contractions. So, it’s acceptable to use them in email to create a conversational tone.
3. When beginning to type an email, start with:
a. The addressee’s email address.
b. The message.
c. The addressee’s name.
d. “Yo, dude or dudette!"
Answer: C. Starting a message with the addressee’s name is not only more personal, it will help avoid miscommunication and confusion. If you begin a message without the addressee’s name, the person won’t know if the message is intended for him/her.
4. When writing an email message, paragraphs should:
a. Be long.
b. Be short.
c. Be indented.
d. Be invisible – no one can mess it up that way.
Answer: B. People aren’t willing to invest time reading messages that appear too long or tedious. Short paragraphs appear easier to read because there is more white space. There is also less chance that the reader will miss a point.
5. The best way to make several points in an email is:
a. Include all the points in the first paragraph.
b. Include all the points in the last paragraph.
c. Use lists with bullets or numbers.
d. Put it on a banner and rent an airplane to fly over the office pulling the banner.
Answer: C. If you put more than one point in a paragraph, it may be overlooked. Lists and bullets make your points stand out. They are also easier for the person to see.
6. At the end of an email message, you should include:
a. Only your name.
b. Only your name and company.
c. All your relevant contact information.
d. A picture of your pet python and twin tarantulas.
Answer: C. Provide people with all the information they need to contact you – in whatever way is most convenient for them. They may prefer the telephone or regular mail over email.
7. If you know the recipient reads emails quickly and is often in a hurry, the best way to send a supporting document is:
a. Paste it into the body of the message.
b. Attach it as a separate document.
c. Type slowly.
d. Have it delivered by carrier pigeon.
Answer: A. When the recipient is in a hurry, he/she will be less likely to open an attachment because it takes extra time. The person is more likely to read something that’s pasted right in front of him/her.
8. When sending a message, you should copy (“cc"):
a. Everyone in the department – just in case.
b. Your boss and your boss’ boss – so they know that you’re working hard.
c. Only those people who absolutely need to know.
d. The whole world. Why not? Everyone else does.
Answer: C. The “cc" function is the most abused function in email. Don’t be a pain!
9. When writing a Subject Line:
a. Use something general, such as “Greetings" or “Hello. "
b. Be specific, but brief.
c. Use several sentences.
d. “If you don’t respond, I’ll send Uncle Guido to break your knee caps. "
Answer: B. A generic Subject Line doesn’t tell the recipient anything. The more specific you are, the better chance you have of getting the recipient to open the message.
10. To write a concise email message:
a. Omit wordy phrases.
b. Use very small font (8 point).
c. Type fast.
d. Omit every other letter. “Oi eey ohr lte. "
Answer: A. An effective method for concise writing is to omit unnecessary words. For example, use, “now" instead of “in the immediate future" and “twice" instead of “on two different occasions. "
11. When possible, email messages should be:
a. Extremely detailed, even if the message is quite lengthy.
b. Kept to one screen.
c. Forwarded to the author of a cartoon for future material.
Answer: B. Most readers won’t take time to read more than one screen. The shorter the message is, the better chance you’ll have of getting it read.
12. How much space can typically be viewed in the Subject Line?
a. 25 - 35 characters.
b. 25 – 35 words.
c. 50 – 75 characters.
d. 50 – 75 words.
Answer: A. Characters are defined as every letter or space. In other words, every time you move the space bar, it counts as one character. The subject line that appears in most people’s email will display approximately 25 – 35 character.
13. When responding to a message regarding the best time for a meeting, you should select:
a. Reply All.
Answer: B. The “Reply All" button will send a response to everyone who was sent the original message. They don’t need to know your schedule. You should “Reply" only to the meeting coordinator. Then, he/she can select the best time and notify everyone.
13 = You’re perfect. (But, you knew that already. ) Keep emailing!
10 -12 = You’re okay. Be a little more cautious, though. You could learn a few tips from my book, Email Etiquette Made Easy (http://www.keepcustomers.com).
7 - 9 = You could use some help. Try my book, Email Etiquette Made Easy (http://www.keepcustomers.com).
Less than 7 = Ugh! Call me now! We’ll schedule your intense therapy immediately.
Kelly J. Watkins, MBA, based near Louisville, KY, offers motivational speeches and customized communication training. For lots of communication tips and articles (which you can reprint), visit: http://www.keepcustomers.com or call (812) 246-2424 or firstname.lastname@example.org .