Electronic mail better known as E-mail is one of the fastest method of communication these days. E-mail has also adapted itself to the modern office culture of the fast growing modern world. E-mail can be used for both internal as well as external communication. E-mail used for internal communication is generally in a relaxed tone and may be short (but you can also attach files or make it longer). E-mails for the external audience are nothing but a letter. It can be sent to an individual or to a group at once. We are free to customize the look of your e-mail from an informal memo format (as used for internal communication) to a formal letter (as used for external communication).
Follow conventions that govern e-mails at work
- Respond to emails on time.
- Start with emails most recently received and work backward, as earlier issues may have already been resolved.
- Send an email only to those who need to read your message.
- Follow the corporate chain of command; do not immediately send your email message straight to the top.
- Clearly specify a timeframe within which necessary actions must be taken.
- Send a “Bcc” (a blind carbon copy, or a copy of your message that is sent to a recipient without other recipients knowing) only if your corporate culture considers it appropriate.
- While informal, email still has basic guidelines for polite correspondence.
- Acronyms and shorthand: Try to avoid shorthand as far as possible. Only the short form of the words commonly accepted in your office may be accepted
- Emoticons: Use them only for informal communication and if possible try to use them sparsely in your communication.
- Type-size and typeface: Generally times new roman is considered as the standard typeface during written communication. Type-size 10-12 point is commonly used.
- Use of Capital letters: Avoid using the entire communication is capital letters. As the receiver may think that you are shouting at him. You may user certain words in capitals to highlight and emphasize on them.
- Punctuation: Use standard punctuation rules.
- Subject Line: Try using short and meaningful subject line. The receiver will immediately see the subject line. The subject line will determine what kind of response and how early your message will be assessed.
- If you are sending a very long attachment, seek prior permission.
- Mention the name of the attachment(s) in the body of the E-mail.
- Compress the attachment before sending
- Make sure your attachment is virus free
How to write a good E-mail?
You must use clear, simple and add logical words to reduce redundancy. All pronouns should unambiguously refer back to a specific noun, while modifiers should clearly refer to the nouns they modify. Write a meaningful subject line and ask yourself a few questions before writing the E-mail. Those questions will help you to write an effective E-mail. Those questions are as follows:
- Why am I writing this E-mail?
- What exactly do I want the result of this communication to be?
- Who shall be the receiver(s) of this communication?
- Is it an informal or a formal E-mail?
Well-written emails are appropriate to your audience, follow the guidelines of business etiquette, and clearly and concisely deliver their message.
You know if you just ask an open-ended question, such as “What do you think of my design?” your colleagues’ responses will be difficult to sort out. So you ask your audience to give feedback on three separate qualities of the design: the color scheme, the font, and the use of frames. So be clear in presenting your ideas and questions. Thus you can receive better results through E-mail communication.
Writing the subject line of the E-mail
Write short but meaningful subject line. Try to reflect the entire idea of the E-mail through the subject line. Do not use “HI” or “Please go through this” as your subject line. For example a few subject lines are given below.
- Meeting at 5pm
- Conference @Monday 1pm
Don’ts of E-mails
- Redundancy: Do not repeat lines or phrases over and over again.
- Dragging: Do not drag your message as simple and short messages are more effective.
- Delay: Respond at the earliest to the received E-mail. Do not delay.