Now that I hope you’ve already had some ideas about using email effectively through my several posts about email skills. We’ve also had the notion why email is important and why using email effectively is even more vital in business or just in personal email exchange. Knowing parts of an email is the first step of helping us to know how to use email effectively. In this post, I will focus on “know how” by Email Tips – Dos and Don’ts. It may not cover everything but I believe they are enough for you to start using email confidently and effectively through these basic email tips.
Email Tips – Dos
- Use simple language. As I mention before, email is a communication skill. The basic function of communication is let someone understand what you tell. Use too formal language makes your message look like a legal document. It is not necessary to use too informal language as it makes your message sounds like a verbal conversation. Neither is not good at all for general email. So please keep your email as simple and friendly as possible.
- Make sure the email subject is meaningful, appropriate, related to email content and has reference information. The first email sentence a receiver will read is the subject line. Do you think an employer will read your email application for a job if your email subject is about your holiday? And if your email subject is something like this “dfaisjdfhg ;lslkbn= asdklaknvknzcvlk”, the reader will think this is a spam and will immediately delete it. Your subject should also have reference information so that you could find it later and you could distinguish among similar email contents.
- Use appropriate greetings at the beginning of each message. Make sure you write the name correctly (Example: Dear Mr. John,) It is also important to have a closing at the end of each message (Example: Thanks and Warmest Regard).
- Use active and proper tone in your message.
- Try to use correct spelling, grammar, and proper punctuation, structure or layout. Using incorrect spelling, grammar or improper punctuation may make your message misunderstood and you will not have good impression at all in your job application or in any business email. You may try to make good impression by using patterned background or image background but it will be counterproductive. You can keep the good email structure and layout by keeping paragraph short enough, keeping a line between paragraphs, use bullet point where applicable when making your points.
- Keep your message focused and try to limit yourself to one matter per message. And you should reply to same email chain. Imagine your boss sends you an email about your work performance and you create a separate email to reply to your boss without quoting your boss original message.
- Proofread your whole message before sending to make sure everything looks great. Because we sometimes think one thing but type the different thing.
- Pay attention to “Reply All” and auto fill as you don’t want to send the message to someone by mistake. Imaging what would happen if your boss send you an email with customer in copy to ask you to quote to customer. You reply all, mention the buying rate and ask your boss to give advice on selling. Now guess what rate can you sell to customer when customer already know your cost?
- Remember to have a call to action in your message so that the email receiver realize an action is required. A simple and classic call to action we often see in an email is “I am looking forwards to your reply”.
- Do response, even the email sender may not include a call to action in their message. A simple response is “Well receive your message”. This way, we can set the recipient’s mind at rest.
- Please set up Auto Reply when you are out of office or you are on holiday but you cannot reply promptly, telling the sender the back-up person or when the sender may have your reply.
- Remember to identify yourself. You don’t want to receive and read an email without knowing anything about the sender unless you want to send an anonymous email which is not expected in all general email conversation.
Email Tips – Don’ts
- Do not scoop the email of someone else, especially your boss unless you have the permission or you back up that person’s email task.
- Do not type all in bond or in all capitals unless you are telling recipients that you are yelling and shouting at them.
- Do not type all in lowercase as it tells the recipients that you are lazy and lack of respect, education.
- Do not use or avoid slang words and abbreviations, especially in business.
- Do not use many colors and special or fancy fonts as it makes your message ridiculous and hard to read.
- Do not forget to show constraints and respect respects. If the message makes you angry, please wait for sometimes before replying.
- Do not apply high priority option for all message as it make none of your message is in high priority at all.
- Do not or Avoid deliver a negative message.
- Do not use CC and BCC unnecessarily or too much. Make sure you only copy the recipients when they really need to see your message.
- Do not forget to attach a file if you say so in your email body and double-check the attachment to make sure it is relevant and it is a file you really want to send.
- Do not forward email haphazardly.
- Do not hesitate to prove you are polite by saying “Please” and “Thank you where appropriate
Find this email tips helpful? Please share it with your friends.
You may also want to refer to my previous post Parts of an email here.
Wonder how to manage emails, please visit my next post
If you have any comments or you have some email tips to share, please provide them below.