Here’s the meat of your email. Let’s start with your salutation: it’s important to say, “Hello” versus “Hey” or worse “Yo guys.” – especially if you haven’t already built a relationship with someone. And use the recipient’s full, or first, name (e.g., Timothy Sykes) – don’t shorten to Tim or Timmy just because you shared a frozen burrito in the break room once.
Be short, informative and professional. Leave out that joke you heard at the party last week, since often humor can come across differently in type. And spell check, proofread, then look it over one last time before you hit send.
Not convinced? “One supervisor intended to write ‘Sorry for the inconvenience.’ But he relied on his spell-check and ended up writing ‘Sorry for the incontinence’” writes Barbara Pachter in her book The Essentials of Business Etiquette.
Your sign off is important, too. It’s always good to create a standard email signature that appears on everything you send. This way, if an email recipient wants to contact you about something particular your information is right there. Again, fancy fonts and colors are not needed here. Simply include your name, position, email and phone number. Some people include their business address as well.
The truth is there are a myriad of do’s and don’t to email correspondence, like the correct time to send that very important email, but many are things you will learn as you go within the parameters of your office culture. Just remember: your emails are a reflection of the professional you, so pay attention to the details and you’ll go far.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Simon Crompton is an entrepreneur running several online businesses. Currently focusing on his marketing firm, Threecolors.blue, he is also a trained journalist sharing his knowledge via several internet blogs. In his spare time he’s an avid programmer and videographer. Connect with @PermanentStle on Twitter.
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