There is no question that email has changed the way most people do business. People use to talk on the phone, write a letter or walk down the hall to talk to someone. But today they just shoot out an email to express their thoughts or ask a question.
There are a few problems with that.
The first is that business is about people. Personal interaction can be very beneficial to understanding what the conversation is really about or in quickly achieving a desired outcome. You can interpret words on a computer screen one way and someone else can interpret them differently. But when you are talking on the phone or face-to-face it’s easy to say: What did you mean by that? Or… Can you explain further?
Another big problem with email is once you send the email it’s out there in cyberspace forever and in your computer forever. It can’t be taken back. It can’t be totally erased. It’s too late to correct the punctuation or spelling. Or to change your words.
Emails should be written carefully and thoughtfully. And definitely proofread.
People will judge you and your company by what they read in the email. For instance: recently I was gathering information from a major computer company about potentially buying a netbook. The representative provided good information that was helpful. But after the call, I got a boilerplate email from the company regarding the call. What really got my attention was the greeting which said: Dear (Company Name)Dummy. For an instant, I could not believe what my eyes were reading! I understand you can interpret the word, dummy, many ways but imagine if you were negotiating a big contract and you were using a form letter and you sent the potential client an email with the greeting: Dear Dummy. The potential customer or client would be looking for someone else to do business with!
Email can be an incredibly valuable tool to your business. Or it can destroy your credibility. As a business owner you need to have policies and safeguards in place for your company as to how to send an email, what’s appropriate and what’s not appropriate. If someone can’t spell or has poor reading or writing skills, and they are a valuable employee, make sure someone is proofing and editing their emails. When hiring new employees include in the hiring process a discussion and even a skill test regarding email usage.
Composition, punctuation and spelling still count as being important in the business world and in how we communicate.