Community association board members spend a lot of time communicating — whether it’s with one another, community members, vendors or your management company. If communication is ineffective, the whole community could end up paying the price. With so much of an association’s success tied to communication, I want to share a few best practices in a four-part series. In this installment, I’ll give you some tips to engineer your emails so that your recipients take action.
Email messages are more detailed than text messages (which were covered in last week’s post here) and may contain attachments, so it’s much easier for a group to share more in-depth information. Sending emails to a group also fosters transparency and ensures all participants are involved and aware of what’s going on. Email is a great option for communicating plans, assigning tasks or responsibilities and confirming details as long as you’re following email best practices. Here are a few guidelines for improving email message communication:
Double check recipient.When sending an email, check that you are communicating with the correct person or group. We’ve all been there, so this bears repeating. Carelessness may lead to sending an email to individuals who should not receive it. Try creating your message first, then add recipients just before sending.
Always include a subject line.This sets the tone for the message. I like to include what action, if any, you need from the recipient because it provides a quicker response and helps the recipient prioritize. For example, if something needs to be reviewed, use “FOR REVIEW,” or “RESPONSE DUE AT 1PM TODAY” or if no action is needed include “NO ACTION REQUIRED.”
Use the “To” and “cc” fields properly.Make sure that all relevant team members are included in the “To” and “cc” sections. Send the message “To” those that are required to act or respond and “cc” to those who are receiving an advisory copy. Omitting individuals can cause misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
Keep it professional.Use a font size and type that’s easily read. Board communications are not the place for creative font choices and colors. Some fonts are easier to read than others. To view a list of the best fonts for print, online and email communications, click here.
The body of the message should be very precise and clear.Use your standard greetings, but otherwise say exactly what is necessary to promote action from the recipients. The more specific you are about what needs to be done, the better the follow-through from the person who has to do it.
Request a response from each party.This ensures that everyone received the message and that it was understood.
Include contact options.Make sure your signature line includes your email address, physical address, phone number or whatever contact method you prefer in case someone needs to follow up.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kirk Bliss is the President of Associa Arizona. Bliss is responsible for setting strategy, directing management operations, client relations, training, business development, strategic planning and leading local executive associates within the Scottsdale, Gold Canyon and Tucson offices. Work with Kirk!
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