Email Guidelines For Purchasing Professonals
PurchTips edition #77
By Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3
Are Your Emails Getting The Attention You Want?
Purchasing and supply management is one of the busiest professions. Therefore, you and I use the convenience of email to communicate with our superiors, internal customers, and suppliers.
This convenience often leads to sloppiness. Sloppy emails are frequently ignored or misunderstood.
Use these guidelines to optimize your emails.
Limit The Topic If you have more than one topic to discuss with the recipient, send one email per topic. When topics are combined, the recipient is likely to withhold a reply until ALL matters can be addressed.
Write Short Paragraphs Limit your paragraphs to two sentences in length for optimum readability. Four short paragraphs are better than one huge paragraph.
Write Short Sentences Strive for an average of about nine to 14 words per sentence. If a sentence uses more than 20 words, try to split it into two separate sentences.
Use Lists If you describe three or more points about a certain topic, use a bulleted list not a long sentence.
Draw Attention To Questions If you ask a question, put it in a paragraph by itself. When asking multiple questions, number them and place each on its own line.
Have A Clear Call To Action Tell the person exactly what to do. An example would be: "Please review this document and email your suggestions to me."
State Any Deadlines If you need a response by a certain date, indicate the date by which you need it. When using a date, be sure to specify whether you want the response "on" or "no later than" that date.
Be Service Oriented When replying to internal customers, thank them in your first sentence and thank them in your last sentence.
Proofread Ensure compliance with these guidelines and look for spelling/grammar errors, omitted words, and lack of clarity.
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Are You Getting The Most Out of Your NLPA Membership?
Members of the NLPA get more than just articles like this by email. As a member, you also get access to:
- The Procurement Training & Certification Starter Kit
- The latest Purchasing & Supply Management Salaries Report
- Leading-Edge Supply Management™ magazine
- Members-only webinars 10x per year
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