In this post of Writing Effective Business Emails, we will be covering following:
- Limit to who really needs to know.
- Make it clear in text who has action and who is info addressee.
- Use BCC to protect Email addresses unless everyone knows each other.
- Watch Reply All.
- Use address book & validate often.
- Avoid typing addresses free hand; many addresses are similar; watch auto fill.
- Send same message to multiple recipients by editing message as new or cutting and pasting.
- Make sure forward does not embarrass sender.
- Get permission if in doubt.
- Never “disrespect” sender in forward or reply.
- Fill in addresses last to avoid sending an incomplete Email by mistake.
- Headline (think newspaper).
- Grab Attention.
- Summarize message.
- Make it easy for recipients to triage your Email and find it later.
- Don’t “Reply All” to a message to grab addressees without changing subject.
- With reference to your letter of 8 June, I …
- I am writing to enquire about …
- After having seen your advertisement in … , I would like …
- After having received your address from … ,I …
- Could you please help me with the following…..
- This is to inform you that…..
- If you require any further information, feel free to contact me.
- Please let me know in case any other information is required.
- I look forward to your reply.
- I look forward to hearing from you.
- I look forward to seeing you.
- Please advise as necessary.
- Keep the message focused and readable.
- Keep it short.
- Break into paragraphs; skip lines between.
- Use short sentences.
- Use plain text editor, not MS Word.
- Avoid HTML.
- Avoid fancy typefaces.
- Write in standard professional English with Capitalization and correct spelling.
- Don’t try to impress.
- Avoid chat speak, e.g., gr8 & emoticons, J.
- Don’t type in All Caps
- Avoid !!!
- Avoid using URGENT and IMPORTANT.
- Use * * to highlight text if you need.
- Proofread & Spell check.
- Quote back selectively when replying to long messages.
- “Yes, I agree.” is useless without context.
- Top quote vs. bottom quote – no consensus.
- Avoid “Fisking,” replying line by line in an argumentative manner.
- For URL links, use Outlook inbuilt function to shorten long URLs or enclose in < >.
- Identify yourself clearly to new contacts.
- Hello, I am… The reason I am writing…
- Hello, so-in-so suggested I contact you…
- Respond Promptly.
- Apologize if you aren’t able to reply promptly.
- Interim reply when too busy.
- Cut and paste relevant parts of attachment into text of Email.
- Upload attachments to shared location / sharepoint and use URL links.
- Recipients who do not know you, may be reluctant to open attachments or click URLs.
- Ensure you insert attachment to avoid sending emails like “Oops, here’s the attachment.”
- Post large attachments in a blog (if any) and then send an Email announcement.
- Include (For receivers information)
- Your name
- Email address
- Website / Blog
- Can be shortened for frequent correspondents.
Confidentiality and Security:
- Have a separate Email account for newsletters, announcements etc.
- Delete browser history, cache, cookies, userids and passwords after using a public Internet connection.
- Logout and close all Apps after using a public Internet connection. (Restart if possible.)
- Don’t open company emails on non-secure personal computer.
- Back up your Email.
- Beware of spam.
- Beware of Phishing attacks.
- Never include personal or financial info in an Email.
- Don’t unsubscribe from anything, you did not subscribe to.
- Beware of friend’s Emails.
- Organize Email into folders.
- Keep a copy of all sent Emails.
- Review and clean out folders periodically.
- Don’t print Emails unless its important.
- Use “out of office” status when away.
10 common Email habits that waste time and cause problems:
- Vague or nonexistent subject line.
- Changed the topic without changing the subject.
- Including multiple subjects in one note.
- Sending before thinking.
- Inadvertent replying to all.
- Omitting the context of a reply.
- Misaddressed recipients.
- Displaying addresses of recipients who are strangers to each other.
- Replying vs. forwarding.
Points to Remember:
- Write a meaningful subject line.
- Keep the message focused.
- Avoid attachments.
- Identify yourself clearly.
- Be kind — don’t flame.
- Don’t assume privacy.
- Distinguish between formal and informal situations.
- Respond Promptly.
- Show Respect and Restraint.
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