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Email Etiquette: How to Write it Right

Email Etiquette: How to Write it Right

Nealeigh Mitchell | Excelle

April 23, 2010

Dot Those I’s

No matter how brilliant your attached proposal, hit “send” without pausing for grammar and you’re likely to kill you’re credibility. Sure, computer spell checks will catch glaring mistakes but are bound to fly under the radar. Sloppy speech can be avoided if you take the time to double check your work. Read for accuracy of names, titles, dates and figures. Also, ease up on the jargon if your intended recipients aren’t all in the industry. A flurry of clarification emails clogs inboxes.

Break the Chain

Don’t assume the recipients have been keeping up with the conversation and know exactly what your simple “Yes, we’ll go with that option” refers to — especially when a thread has started to stray from the subject at hand. If it makes sense, cut and paste the last pertinent point and go from there.

Publicly Private

Don’t assume your scandalous message to a coworker will remain an A-B conversation. Once you log on to a shared system, privacy and confidentiality are nonexistent. Make sure your messages are suitable, appropriate, and legal. A seemingly harmless rant to a colleague could end up as ammo down the road. An IT worker can dig up the digital graveyard with a click of the mouse. Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you were to write your message on a postcard, would you be OK with it making the office rounds? If not, don’t send it.

Add Attachments

Man, the execs could not have asked for a more diligent associate. You’ve crafted a perfect pitch and even referred to the key points in a 10-page Word attachment. The Excel worksheet is color-coded for quick reference and the two PowerPoint presentation amp up the visual! Promotion time! And sent! Without attachments! It’s easy to get distracted, but it’s just as easy to avoid this common email blunder: each and every time you refer to a document, immediately attach it to the email. You can’t afford to be complacent — empty emails leave recipients in the dark and you in the doghouse.

Savvy Sign Off

Leave a lasting impression by signing off with a signature that includes your job title and alternate contact details. Unless you want to be woken up at midnight by an international call or pinged in a meeting, keep the personal info to yourself. You can punch it up with a bit of personality but less is more. Bowing out with a hot pink inspirational quote and a link to your Facebook page might rub people the wrong way. Don’t take that chance. Go out with a professional bang!