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Use Email Effectively

Email is a great communication tool -- when used appropriately. In "The Electronic Brick Wall" in Training Magazine, Peter Post says, "People write things in electronic messages they would never say in person. There is no question that people use e-mail to avoid having difficult conversations..."

Post says email, texts and instant messages are great for communicating facts, but when the information is complicated or goes back and forth, participants get frustrated and work productivity drops.

Post encourages us to dismantle the electronic brick wall:

  • Limit e-mails to who, what, when or where. Any time a person wants to discuss the "why" or an opinion, stop writing and start talking.
  • Any time an email stream starts to become an argument or disagreement, break it off and call the person or, better yet, meet with them in person to resolve the issue.

Another strategy for effective email is to target your messages as much as possible. Think about who truly needs to receive your message, and use the Ag email lists described in the document on the password-protected Ag Info Center to target your email to only those faculty and staff who really need the information.

Becky Koch, Director, (701) 231-7875

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