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The Grossman Group CEO and communications expert David Grossman shares his insights on the importance of meaningful leadership communication in today’s business climate. With high level tips on engagement and connection, insights into employee motivations and behavior, and firsthand stories from the frontlines of America’s leading companies.

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When to Use Email (and When Not to)


emails dos and dontsEmail is a form of one-way communication, meaning it does not allow for an immediate exchange of ideas. If you plan to use email as your communication tool, consider its limitations and your strategy for getting feedback. Aside from using email as a logistics coordination tool, it’s best used as follow-up to meetings or conference calls to recap concepts, agreements and gain alignment between groups. 

As with all communications, emails must be planned and considered to get the action you want.

Email is most effective to…

  • Provide directional, important and timely information
  • Share detailed information and data
  • Ensure there’s a record of your communication
  • Direct the receiver to an online source for more information
  • Provide brief status updates

DO use email to:

  • Provide one or multiple audiences with a brief status update in the body of a message
  • Deliver a longer message or information as an attachment to your intended receivers
  • Give timely information consistently to a group of receiver(s)
  • Prompt the receiver(s) to view web-based content or other content that’s attached

DON’T use email:

  • To give bad or negative news
  • To give complex, detailed or lengthy information or instructions
  • When the receiver deserves an opportunity to give immediate feedback or response
  • When there might be nuance or context that can’t be understood by written words; to express feelings 

How might you use email more effectively?




I think there are really good pointers here, David, especially in the list of Don'ts. What's interesting to me is the migration now of a lot of tasks -- some in your Do list -- to other platforms such as SharePoint and and others, within organizations. Do you have a point of view on the best use of those versus emails? We'll all still correspond with others professionally in situations where we don't share those platforms, but I'd be interested in your ideas where those platforms do exist.
Posted @ Tuesday, October 02, 2012 11:08 AM by Bruce Campbell
Yeah, it’s an unfortunate drawback of the Information Age. Information is everywhere. I guess it beats breaking your back in the Industrial Age, or scrounging for food in the Agricultural Age. Still though, there’s no escape from work now. That’s why we try to at least make it fun at MailChimp. Thanks for reading! 
Posted @ Monday, October 22, 2012 6:19 AM by Clarissa Meyer
An additional consideration, of course, is the fact that the world (no offense to Mr. Friedman) is actually a sphere. People in distant time zones are often forced to use email simply because they are not at work during the same hours. In this case, the challenge becomes how to use email effectively for as many use cases as possible while defusing its shortcomings... a real challenge whose solutions are at times an exquisite form of art...
Posted @ Monday, October 22, 2012 9:49 AM by Nathan Zeldes
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