Email has almost completely replaced paper memoranda (memos) in our jobs and is, obviously, a much quicker method of transmitting information from place to place and from desk to desk. And as a side issue: far fewer lost pieces of vital information (barring network crashes and other IT glitches…, fewer piles of manila folders, no more broken fingers nails from trying to open those bothersome fasteners, a greener planet and less waste of resources. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
There are websites sites providing Email Etiquette tips, but briefly:
• Make sure that you are using a word processing package, if possible, to send important emails – this will check the spelling for you.
• Remember to use some form of greeting. If you just launch into the message the recipient may well find that a tad confronting.
• KISS – keep it short and simple (that’s a more polite definition of the anagram than the other one!). For work-related emails you need to bear in mind that the reader will have many items popping into their inbox and to which they have to respond. For personal emails from your home PC/laptop/Blackberry etc, you can say whatever you like and, more importantly, what the recipient would like to hear.
• Think about the emails you receive which you love and which you open with excitement and anticipation; and then think about those which make you hurt and resentful. Which emotion would you like to send? (Be careful; what goes around, comes around.)
• Remember that dreadful mistakes have been made because someone has responded to an email and hit the ‘Reply to All’ button instead of just ‘Reply’. Jobs have been lost because of a nanosecond’s indiscretion…
• Don’t use capital letters in the body of the email as it’s considered to indicate shouting.
• If you use bold or italic, make sure that you are using them correctly (check websites for advice).
• When signing off, make sure that, even if the email contains information the recipient might not be happy to receive, you finish on a friendly note using a conventional ‘Regards’, ‘Sincerely’, or similar.
• Keep your signature line reasonably short without too much clutter – too much info overwhelms the reader.
Good luck with your messages!