How often do you receive poorly written emails? With the number of emails delivered to our inbox every day, it is crucial that every email you send is not only pleasing to the eye, but also well written, otherwise it may get overlooked.
Below are some tips to assist you with your email etiquette when composing a new email:
1. Subject Line and Topic
All emails should include a subject line. This is your recipient’s first clue to what your email is about. Ensure that the subject line is short but descriptive. Messages without a subject line are more likely to be identified as SPAM.
You should always open your email by addressing the person you are sending it to. If it is someone you don’t know well, they should be addressed “Dear Mr James” or “Dear Doctor Adams”. If you do not know the individual’s name, “Dear Sir” or “Dear Madam” is acceptable.
If you have a good working relationship with the person, it is fine to use their first name, such as “Dear Amy” or “Hi Amy”.
Your email should be formatted correctly, in a similar fashion to a standard document or letter. Most email programs have a wide variety of options for formatting, such as bullets and automatic numbering, just like a regular word processing program such as Word.
4. Grammar and Spelling
Correct grammar and spelling are important. Paragraphs should be used, but they should be kept short, if possible.
Ensure capitals are used appropriately, and remember that typing in ALL CAPS is considered “shouting”. Avoid shortening words using “text” or “SMS” language, such as “u” or “r”.
Use attachments only where necessary. Emails with attachments can take longer to download, and can be a source of viruses.
It is important to include a signature in every email that you send. It can be simple or elaborate, but it must include your name and perhaps some further information like your phone number or website address.
If you don’t know the recipient of the email well, it is good practice to use “Yours sincerely” or “Yours faithfully”. However there is a growing trend towards “Kind regards” or “Best regards”.
Even if you do know the recipient well, it won’t hurt to include a friendly closure such as “Have a nice day”, “Take care, or “All the best”. A lot of emails I receive from well known clients or colleagues are signed off “Cheers”, and that is okay too.
It is important to remember that emails are neither private nor secure. You should carefully consider what you are including in an email, and take particular care with confidential and sensitive information. Check and double check addresses before you hit send!
Only mark your email high priority if it is urgent and important. If your message is extremely urgent, it is probably a good idea to make a phone call rather than send an email.