In today’s fast paced world, communication through e-mail has become a way of life. I find this especially true among college students.
Even though an e-mail is less formal than the handwritten note, it should still contain the same format of the handwritten note. One should also evaluate the appropriateness of the e-mail versus a phone call or a meeting face to face. Remember, the original intention or emotion of an e-mail can easily be misinterpreted.
Here are a few basic rules for sending business e-mails:
1. Every e-mail should have a greeting, body – broken into short, appropriate paragraphs, a salutation, and a signature with all of your contact information. I find receiving an e-mail in one large block paragraph difficult to read.
2. Proper punctuation and grammar is a necessity. I frequently receive e-mails containing no capital letters.
3. Use your spell check. Words spelled incorrectly do not reflect a good professional image of yourself.
4. Keep the message brief.
5. Use the subject line. Stay with one topic for each e-mail message.
6. If you change the subject, change the subject line.
7. Do not write it if you wouldn’t want it on the front page of the “New York Times”. E-mails are not a means for gossiping or venting about co-workers. Pressing the wrong send button can have devastating outcomes. You never know who your e-mail will be forwarded to.
8. Use Bcc and Cc appropriately. At times, it is appropriate to let the recipient know who the other e-mail recipients are. If you’re sending a mass e-mail, I do not want my e-mail address posted for everyone to see and/or forward.
9. Avoid using emoticons or abbreviations such as FYI and BTW.
10. Re-read your message before sending it. If you wrote the e-mail when you had strong emotions, wait until you’ve cooled down before sending it. You may even decide not to send it at all.