Sunday, April 7, 2013

Your Skill Is Not Enough... (Part 3)

This is part three in my series for Ed Tech folks.  Part one was about communication.  Part two was about managing tech issues.  In part three, I want to add to the communication bit, by talking about building up your correspondence skills.

Email imageIn this age of twitter, texting, and short blips about what is happening, there is a lot of correspondence going on that mimic how we communicate via social networks.  For most of the Ed Tech community, our correspondence is done through email.  Email is not a social networking venue, so stop treating it like one.

Usually, the majority of your communication is done through email.  I hate to break this to you, but in education there are a lot of teachers and staff that will create opinions about you based upon how you write. By corresponding in a professional manner, you will increase your overall support image with those that you support.  Here are some quick tips on keeping your emails professional:

  • Begin and end the email properly.  Start with Hi, Dear, Mr. or Mrs. in your email.  It is OK to call the people you work with or are peers with by their first name, but always start off with a salutation.  Do this regardless of the type of email.  Always end the email with sincerely or regards, and your name and contact info.  Set this up as part of your signature.  Make sure that it is set on all your mobile devices too.
  • Be concise in your correspondence.  In other words, answer the question, give them an update, or stay on topic.  It is OK to discuss other issues in an email, just keep it out out of your tech support communication.
  • If an email starts to get too long, then call them instead.  Often talking one on one will clear things up faster than an email.  Follow up that email with a short note on what you talked about, especially if there was an agreement at the end.
  • Think about who else is in the email.  Be careful about the "Reply to All" option.  Remember this is not a social application, and getting into a heated email discussion can have unwanted results.  
  • Know when to include others in the CC section.  Look at your email, if it feels like your are tattling or trying to force an issue by including someone in the CC section, then you probably are.  Ask yourself if your intentions for adding a CC is professional.
  • You should never respond to an email when your are angry, frustrated, or feeling defensive.  Talk to a peer that you can trust to give you an honest and unbiased opinion of the situation.  I have found that talking to my supervisor before I respond has helped me keep a level head.
  • There are many times where you need to send an email out to all staff or all teachers.  When you do this, then be short and to the point.  Always let them know that they can contact you for more information.  If you are informing them of a service interruption  always apologize for any disruption even if it is not your fault.  
  • Remember that you are working in an educational setting, so make sure that your grammar and spelling are correct.  It will get discussed with or without your knowledge.
  • Be professional at all times, even when you don't feel like it.

Take some time to brush up on your email etiquette.  If you are an Tech Ed manager, then make sure that your staff takes the extra effort to correspond professionally, there is nothing worse then getting called out for an email that one of your tech staff sent.  As the manager you are responsible for the actions of your staff.


Ángel Antonito Acosta Roa. (2012). Correo Electrónico Institucional [image]. Retrieved from
     http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/24/Email.jpg


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