We often have to advocate for our kids in school and sometimes ask for supports from related agencies.
Sometimes, after meetings, I would send out a summary in emails about the tasks for every party in the meeting. It is to clarify and confirm the understanding of each task.
By writing the emails, it also leaves a trace of documents on agreed or disagreed items. When the tasks are not being executed, or the supports are taking too long to implement, we can then use the email as a reminder and follow up.
Here are some tips on how to write the emails.
Add Name to Mail Subject
The mail subject makes it easier to search even if the recipient does not read the email right away.
We often receive emails and scan them without really reading them. With the right email subject and title, it makes an impression to allow the recipient to find the mail later on.
School and agency staff have many different cases and people to deal with. Your case might not be considered urgent and immediate at the time. But with titles like, “<<Meeting Title>> Summary for <<Child’s First and Last Name>> on <<Meeting Date>>” would make it easier for the recipients to locate and read later.
Outline the Topics
Most people don’t take too much time to read, especially for work. We usually try to process our tasks as quickly as we could at work.
So, it is extremely helpful to list down the topics in 3-5 words, and probably add a more detailed short description to each item.
The short topics refreshes our memories. If we somehow forget what a certain item is about, we can read into the description.
After putting all the topics in a list, go through the list and move the more important items to the top.
This is to ensure the reader would at least see the topic we care about the most. Sometimes people don’t have enough time to read through the whole email. By putting the more important topic to the top of the list, we are making sure at least the reader might have an impression of it.
After a week or so after sending out the emails, it is sometimes useful to send a follow-up email to remind the recipient and check on the status of the tasks.
Sometimes emails get lost or the recipient simply misses it. So it is always good to check in after a few days.
Communications is important. It takes a little efforts for people to willingly to reply or simply keep us updated of the progress. We all are more willing to help those who appreciate and who are pleasant. So it is important to remember even though it is sometimes their job to help and support us, the gratitude and manner go a long way.