E-mail is a common and convenient way to communicate to companies, colleagues, employers, employees, professors and others who require formal communication. The smallest mistake can make a negative impression. There are a number of ways you can improve and enhance your e-mail etiquette.
- Skill level:
Because e-mails are automatically given a time and date stamp, you do not have to put this information in the email unless you want to do so.
Begin the email with a greeting. Because you are aiming for a professional touch, think of it as writing a letter. Make it simple with a quick "Hello." If you know who you are writing to, it is best to use the professional form of the recipient's name (e.g. Mr., Mrs., Professor or Dr.).
Get right to the point. The first paragraph should be about who you are and why you are sending the email.
Don't beat around the bush. The second paragraph should contain the information you are providing or the request you are making. State the desired follow through of the situation.
If there are any attachments, mention them in the email so that the receiver knows to look for and open the files. Also, appropriately name the attachments so that the receiver knows what each document is just by looking at the name.
Provide a closing statement. Start by thanking the receiver for his or her time. Courtesy is always important, no matter how short the email really is. Include an accurate follow-up statement such as, "I will contact you again with further information," or "I look forward to hearing your ideas." If a response is required, be sure to state that information in the message.
In your professional e-mail account, you should have a signature set up. This will automatically add on to the bottom of the email. You should include your full professional name, job title and contact information. Depending on policy, you may also want to include a link to the company's website or social media pages.
Tips and warnings
- Use CCs and BCCs when necessary with your own e-mail address in the "T" area.
- Read through the email before clicking the send button. Check spelling and grammar before sending.
- Add attachments as you mention them. This will stop you from sending the email without them.
- Use proper spacing and paragraphs to make the email look clean. On a computer, shorter paragraphs are always better.
- Do not include any colours or crazy fonts. Keep it clean and simple.
- If you are sending the same e-mail to several people, do not leave recipient addresses visible in the CC box. Use the blind copy or mail merge function to protect the privacy of your contacts.
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