- Stay current on company policy for e-mail use.
Know what your company prefers and use those guidelines.
- Answer e-mails promptly.
Use an out-of-office response if you are unavailable for a long time.
- Use conventional spelling and punctuation, avoiding most abbreviations.
Also, avoid using slang or colloquial expressions. Avoid using texting shortcuts.
- Use an accurate subject in your subject line.
Update the subject when appropriate.
(Don’t respond to an old e-mail with an inaccurate subject line.)
- Make the body of your message brief.
Be concise and get to the point. Do not include a lot of extraneous information. If you feel the reader might need or want further information, possibly provide an attachment or link.
- E-mails are not for sensitive information.
Generally use other methods for confidential or sensitive communication.
- When forwarding an e-mail, add a note to explain how the message relates to the reader.
- Use the “Reply All” only when the message is relevant to everyone on the e-mail list.
Everyone receives an overload of messages these days, so be precise in sending your messages to the right person or people.
- If you receive an emotional or controversial message, take your time to think through your response. Note number 6 above.
If an objective, business-like e-mail can be formulated, do so carefully and calmly.
- Inappropriate messages should not be shared or forwarded. These should be handled outside of the e-mail forum.
Always think of your readers when writing e-mails. Make their job as easy as possible by providing them with the information they need – and no more. If everyone works to help everyone else, our jobs become easier, and the quality of our work, including our messages, improves.
Be professional at all times.