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Email Tips
February 7, 2020
When you carry out acts of kindness you get a wonderful feeling inside. It is as though something inside your body responds and says, yes, this is how I ought to feel.
-Harold Kushner

In a letter to the editor in Harvard Business Review OnPoint (Fall 2010; hbr.org), Rita Gunther McGrath shared "Rita's Golden Rules for E-mail. Ten years later, these are still helpful, especially for leaders communicating with staff, but also for college professors communicating with students, or teachers communicating with parents:

  • Meaningful subject lines that tell the reader what to expect.
  • No e-mail should be longer than one screen of information.
  • One subject per e-mail.  When I've dealt with an item, I want to delete it.  I can't do that if your e-mail contains 10 action items.
  • E-mail is the wrong place for emotional outbursts.
  • E-mail is the wrong place for communications of a personal nature.
  • Assume that everything you put in an e-mail could end up on the front page of the New York Times and be accordingly discreet.
  • Because you sent it doesn't mean I got it.  Because I got it doesn't mean I read it.  Because I read it doesn't mean I understood it.  Because I understood it doesn't mean I agree with you.
  • Don't send an e-mail when a short phone call would do a better job.

The Art of Leadership
Early Childhood Organizations

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