Most videoconference project coordination is done via email. Even when you register online for a project in CAPspace or for a session of Weather With Rusty, there is always some detail that needs to be confirmed or an adjustment to a schedule. Time for an email tune-up. Estimated time for this challenge 2-10 minutes.
- Set up an email signature if your system does not automatically add one.
- Include text from previous messages
- Copy all recipients on the project
Setting up and email signature takes about 5 minutes and can help your partners be able to contact you more easily. Don’t assume that they know your area code for your phone number! Here are step-by-step guides for you to follow if you use Outlook or Gmail. I know it seems unnecessary to some, but include your email in your signature as some email clients do not show it and if you are not the original recipient you might need it. The comments to this post from 2006 on LifeHacker do a great job of listing some tips for what not to do when using email.
What to put in your email signature:
Title | School | City,State
Including text from previous email messages is critical as you work with teachers, content providers, or other coordinators to hammer out the details of a project. It enables everyone to follow the flow of the email conversation. This requires a setting in your email client that includes the previous messages in each email. (Yes, it can get annoying with the signature in it, but we deal with that!)
In Outlook, go to Tools->Options->Preferences Tab: Email Options (You have different choices about how exactly it will look, just make sure that it includes the original message!)
Use the REPLY ALL button when working with partners to develop a project or confirm videoconference details with content providers. We all acknowledge that it does take a great deal of coordination to make sure that all sites agree to the same date and time. It is crucial to summarize the details and communicate them to all parties involved. This will help make sure that your technical support people or bridge personnel will have all the details that they need.
Example of confirmation email reply to all teachers and coordinators for a collaboration:
We have finally agreed on the time and date for our cultural exchange. Each fourth grade class will be presenting a song, a poem, a piece of artwork and a short skit to share the heritage of their community. We will have a map to show our location and a brief introduction to our school and class.
Date: May 8, 2009
Time: 8:30-9:30 AM CDT (9:30-10:30 AM EDT)
School A: (insert name and technical details and contact info here)
School B: (insert name and technical details and contact info here)
We are looking forward to working with your class and learning more about your school and community.
All the best,
rglaser @ esc12.net
Your mission today is to check your signature and if your email includes the original message. Already completed that task? Then your challenge is to add another tip for email etiquette in the comments section for us to share with other coordinators.