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Email Etiquette in Strata

One of the key factors that ensures efficient management of body corporate communications is the time and effort placed on effective email management. With email now the most common and convenient method, consideration to the subject, content, attachments, intended recipient, and clear communication of action required has become increasingly important.

For efficiency, it is imperative that the recipient receives your email correspondence in a comprehendible manner. This is essential for any necessary actions to be completed without the need for clarification that can cause delays or the possibility of misinterpretations.

Emailing is essential in our daily lives and when used appropriately, it can be a very effective and efficient method of communicating. However, there is still the need to call and talk at times instead of email, particularly for urgent matters or matters that require a conversation rather than back and forth such as instant messaging, which email is not. Confirmation of a conversation outcome can still be in the form of an email when a record is required.

Here is our list of top tips to consider before you send your next email:

  1. Clear subject line– ensure your subject line states the Body Corporate name and the matter for action or consideration. This will enable the reader to have a clear understanding of the subject and assist in dealing with your request.
  2. The introduction– if you are emailing a new recipient, make sure you introduce who you are and where you are from (or position), as appropriate. It is important not to assume that a new recipient will know who you are based on assumptions such as your email address or the content.
  3. Recipients– a common mistake occurs when a recipient has been copied in (CC or BCC) to an email with little explanation of its relevance to them. This may make it difficult for the recipient to know if they need to action anything. Be clear about who you are seeking a response or action from. A suggested format could be:
  • Introduction of who you are and what you are seeking;
  • Who you are seeking a response from;
  • Why you require the action or response; and
  • What your expectations on the action or response are in terms of timeframes.
  1. Reply all – prior to copying multiple recipients in an email or selecting ‘reply all’, consider what you are expecting from the recipients and if it is absolutely necessary they are included. Do not assume that because you CC a recipient that they will act on a small section relevant to them in a lengthy email.

If there is a decision being considered via email, consider if all recipients need to be included along the way, particularly if the person acting on the decision simply needs the final outcome.  An example of this could be a request for the committee is issued in the first instance to the body corporate manager for them to obtain the committee’s instructions prior to responding.

  1. Tone – the use of capitalised words and exclamation marks can convey a message that the sender is shouting or angry. Appropriate words should be used to highlight importance or urgency. Be conscious of your audience and address the recipient(s) by name or group such as “committee” so that there is context to the message being delivered.
  2. Attachments– alert the recipient to the attachment(s) and relevance to why you have sent it to them in the body of your email.
  3. Proofread– sending emails with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes may result in the recipient(s) misinterpreting your message, which may cause delays in responding and frustration. Relying on spell check will help. Read your email prior to sending including a final check of attachments and recipients suggested to be completed as a final step and double-check before hitting “Send”.
  4. Appropriate Method– although the introduction of email and smartphones has enabled us to communicate at all hours and while on the move, such advancements in technology have also greatly reduced telephone communication. If you are expecting a quick response to a query or 2-way dialog is required, an efficient way of obtaining the answer could potentially be via the telephone, video call, or arranging a face-to-face meeting.

It is also important to note that the recipient may need to seek instructions before acting or responding to requests. This means that you may not receive an instant response when the recipient does not hold the authority to approve the request or provide the information sought.

  1. Records – lastly and most importantly, remember that email correspondence forms part of the body corporate records. If you do not want your email to be included in the records for whatever reason, you should reconsider the content or communication method.

This article was contributed by John Russo – Senior Strata Manager – Archers the Strata Professionals.

Leave a Reply

  1. Colin Wright

    What does this mean? “Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.”

    Thank you for the excellent discussion on email communication.
    Forms are an excellent way of ensuring all necessary information is included in the communication BUT they often do not provide a record for the respondent to keep track of the communication. What about adding a “SEND ME AN EMAIL COPY” option.
    Like many web pages you do not provide a return email address so that I can keep a record of what I have written to you and rarely do the authors of forms include the correspondents text in their response. So if you reply I don’t know what I have said to you unless I send you a standard email. BUT like many websites you hide your email address.
    Further development of email protocol is urgently needed.

    1. Smart Strata

      Hi Colin,
      Thanks for your feedback. We agree with your comments and are currently working with our web developers to improve user experience.