The art of writing letters had begun to be replaced before the turn of the century, thanks to the advent of email. As more people were connected to the Internet, emailing friends, family, and even potential employers, business, and more became much easier. And more cost effective.
However, something began to change in the manner in which letters (emails, in this case) were constructed. People took advantage of the fast, convenient features of email and started overlooking some simple etiquette. Then things grew worse.
Texting became an even easier and more convenient way to send quick messages to one another. In order to compose an email that is proper, you need to understand email etiquette. Keep in mind that if you’re emailing someone about a possible job or position that opened up, or it has to do with a university, government agency, legal matter, or something else of importance, it is absolutely essential that you adhere to the basics of email etiquette.
1. Write a simple, but easily identifiable subject.
Every email has a subject line. Don’t leave this blank or overlook it. Use 10 words or less to explain the content of the email and that will increase the chances the recipient actually opens and reads it.
2. Be careful with the ‘reply all’ button.
With every email you receive, you can reply to just the person who sent it, or to everyone who was listed or ‘cc’d’ (carbon copied, for the old days of copying letters). If you hit reply all, then everyone who received that particular email is going to get yours as well.
That can turn annoying for them quickly.
3. Know to whom you’re addressing this email.
You should have a clear understanding about who will be receiving your letter. Sometimes you won’t know the person’s name, so ‘Dear Sir or Madame’ may be appropriate. Always direct it to someone in particular if you can and always avoid using ‘To whom it may concern.’
4. Construct the email like a real letter.
That means you should have a greeting (salutation), opening paragraph, middle paragraph, and conclusion, and your closing (sincerely, so-and-so).
5. Avoid large attachments.
If someone’s not expecting you to send something, odds are they won’t even open the email to begin with. If they are expecting the email, keep any attachments to a minimal size.
6. Focus on privacy.
If you’re sending an email out to a long list of people, use an email program. Otherwise you could be inadvertently exposing everyone’s email address to others on the list. Not cool.
7. Don’t use text lingo.
LOL and ur are no-no’s in emails. Write with regular, cogent English.
8. Avoid using emoticons.
Sure, a happy face can convey pleasantry, but it’s not professional and shouldn’t be included in an email.
9. Reply to emails in a timely manner.
If someone sends you an email today, reply at least by tomorrow. If it’s a Friday afternoon, you have until Monday (Tuesday at the latest) to respond.
10 .Walk away from the email if you’re emotional.
If you’re angry, you could write things in an email you’ll regret. It’s best to walk away from the situation at that time and come back later on.
These tips will help you perfect your email writing abilities.
Written by G. T. Hedlund