E-mail communication

General Description of the Module:

Nowadays, almost no event, meeting or other activity takes place without using online communication such as e-mail, text messages or virtual communication platforms. In this module you will practice writing a formal e-mail and learn about how to communicate effectively using e-mail services.

Activity: Writing an e-mail

Specific Objectives:

  • To practice writing a formal e-mail.
  • To explore ways of effective e-mail writing.

Duration : 45 minutes

Resources : Writing an E-mail Activity Sheets, pens

Description of the activity:

  1. First, read and review these formal e-mail writing tips:
    • Include a specific subject line. Don’t take the subject line for granted! It’s an important part of your email communication. Keep it clear and concise. It lets your recipients know what the message is about before they even open it, and also helps them locate the email easily in the future.
    • Keep your message short and clear. Your message will have a better chance of getting read in a timely manner if it’s succinct and to the point. A wordy message often sinks to the bottom of the heap! Good communicators express their ideas in as few words as possible to avoid confusion and get their point across.
    • Think twice before you click 'Reply All'. If a message was sent to multiple people and you only need to respond to the sender, simply click 'Reply'. Don’t inundate everyone with information they don’t care about by using 'Reply All'.
    • QUIT YELLING. Avoid using all caps: it implies shouting! It’s also more difficult to read typed letters that are all the same size, so give your readers a break.
    • If you need to clarify or resolve a conflict or a misunderstanding, pick up the phone. Although an automatic reaction, especially if someone has misunderstood something in your email, may be to send a quick email back, this is not advisable. Email is the worst type of conflict resolution and can exacerbate it. Often a quick chat on the phone can help clarify any misunderstanding.
    • Include an email 'signature'. It is helpful to have all your contact information clearly and easily accessible.
    • Recheck everything. Before hitting the 'send' button, reread messages for typos or other mistakes, and make sure attachments are in fact attached. You’ll make up the time it takes and more by not having to revisit messages with errors.
    • Use a professional email address, which includes your first name and last name so that the recipient knows who you are.
      Some examples of bad email addresses:
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      Some examples of good email addresses:
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    • Using CC and BCC. Both Cc and Bcc forward a copy of the message to everyone you've listed. The main difference between Cc or Carbon copy and Bcc (Blind carbon copy) is that, with the latter, the recipients do not get to know each other. For instance, putting all your friends' emails in the Bcc field and asking them to meet you at a chosen rendezvous would make everyone feel special until they arrive at the venue!
  2. Then, fill in the ‚E-mail activity sheet‘, by writing an e-mail in the provided template. Imagine that you and your classmates are organizing an event in your school. You have decided to invite a guest speaker to talk to pupils about an issue you care about. But first, you have to write him/her an e-mail and make a good impression. You can be creative and think of a specific person you want to write to, or an imaginary one. You can also choose a topic. While completing this activity, make sure you make use of the tips discussed in the previous section.

After the activity:

After completing the activity, take some time to reflect on your experience. Think about or write down answers to these reflection points:

  • Did I learn something new? If yes, what?
  • What skills did I improve?
  • How could I apply those skills or knowledge in my life? (Think of a few examples)

Suggestion and tips for facilitation:

Please refer to the e-mail templates in the Youth Forum step-by-step planning guide that you can use for organizing your Forum.