24 July 2012

Good Tips to write E-Mails

Today, where almost every one of us interacts virtually, writing Emails is the most extensive and exhaustive activity we do daily. Therefore there is a need to follow some important etiquette which can make our virtual communication effective and impressive. Here are some Email Rules which we should follow in our day-to-day email communications; office or personal. We call them ‘Email Etiquette’.

1. Format your Mail:
Stick to the most common font styles as in Arial, Verdana, Times New Roman, etc. If you wish to add color, it should not be anything other than black, blue. Keep your mail in Left Indent format. This is the American style and currently being followed.
2. Avoid long Sentences/Paragraphs:
Limit your sentences to a maximum of 20 words if possible. Split your message into multiple sentences if it exceeds the limit. Avoid extending one paragraph beyond 5 lines. Maintain a blank line between each paragraph and keep your email structured.
3. Handling Multiple Recipients:
If you are sending a message to more than one person, it is advisable to keep the recipients in ‘Bcc’ instead of ‘To’. This will avoid publicizing the recipients’ email address without their explicit permission. Also in such case, address the recipients by ‘Hi’, ‘Hello’, ‘Greetings’, etc.
4. Handle Gender Appropriately:
If the recipient is female, address as ‘Ms. X’ (this is irrespective of the female being married or single). If the recipients’ gender is not known, keep your email context gender neutral.
5. Avoid Emoticons and Abbreviations:
Avoid abbreviations and using ‘Smiley’s, especially in official communications.
6. Avoid using Capitals:
Do not use CAPITALS in the title and body of the email. Capitals are regarded as being too aggressive or even offensive to the readers.
7. Careful with Reply All:
Be very careful while ‘Replying to All’. If not necessary, avoid ‘Reply All’ function and reply only to limited recipients. Example: If your organization sends an email, introducing a new Recruit – no need to ‘Reply All’ on that email. You can just send a note to the new recruit– welcoming the employee onboard.
8. Add Signatures (for official purpose only):
It is advisable to keep a pre-designed signature for your outgoing mails. When composing a mail in the first place, it is advisable to use the full signature details. While replying to mails, you can use a more concise format. Signature should have: Your name (first and last only), Designation, Department Name,
Organization, Name & Address, Contact details (direct or reception or cell).
9. Add Disclaimers to the Mail:
Do add necessary disclaimers to your emails, if sending through your official email ID. This typically comes below the signature.
10. Careful with Attachments:
If you have said ‘Please find attached’, ensure that you attach and re-check the attached document, before sending the mail.
11. Do not Hurry Response:
Do not write a mail when you are in a hurry. If you are not able to reply in detail, just reply as “Will get back to you soon”.
12. Answer all Questions in Mail:
Do not leave any point unanswered or unattended in your email response. This helps in avoiding emailing back and forth for clarifications and saves time.
13. Do not forward Chain Letters:
Have you ever received a mail asking you to forward it on to “x” number of people in order to receive good fortune? Most of these chain letters are hoaxes. Do not forward chain letters to others, just delete them on receipt.
14. Avoid High Priority Option:
Do not overuse the high priority flag. If you keep marking all your emails as ‘High Priority’, then recipients cannot differentiate between a high priority mail vs. normal mail. Remember the story of ‘cry wolf’? It may also come across as being too aggressive.
15. Read the Mail:
Please use the Spell check facility in your mailbox without fail. Every email service provides this useful facility. Finally read your email once before hitting the SEND button to check for grammar, spelling and appropriateness of the mail religiously adhering to the above email etiquette will surely help one to create a good & positive impression in the minds of the readers/receiver. Happy Emailing!!

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