The Ten Commandments of Writing Emails
I love text messages. But I am afraid the cell phone revolution is killing the art of emailing. Yes, I call it an art with good reason. Emailing should be done with care and lots of attention. That doesn’t hold only for official emails but even for personal emails. Here are the ten commandments of emailing that we should never forget to adhere to.
1.Thou shall always have a subject.
You are not writing a text message on your phone. Many people are usually so busy that they develop a habit of checking the subject lines of the emails and opening only those they think sound important. If you forget the subject line, your email might never be read.
2.Thou shall use a salutation and a signature
Avoid the hit and run technique. Always have a salutation much the same way you do when you are writing a letter. The salutation may be official like dear sir or it might just be a hi. A salutation is a way of telling your recipient that you care. And as the saying goes, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. It’s also important to have a signature to append to your emails. The signature gives your recipients your contact details and your position in the company
3. Thou shall not use ALL CAPS
I recently received an email from a colleague and it was typed with his caps on. It just looks so bad. It’s like the guy was trying to scream at me! You don’t want your recipient getting the feeling that you are shouting at him
4. Thou shall be succinct
Few people enjoy reading emails. So don’t waste their time with unnecessary stuff. If you are alerting your colleagues about a news item on CNN that is of interest, don’t give the details. Just tell them of it and provide a link to those who will want to get the details. The bottom line is, be brief or the email will never be read
5. Thou shall be courteous
Even if you don’t like the person you are writing too, always remember, a little courtesy goes a long way. Never use abusive and curse words in your emails. Remember the forward button? The email could end up in the inbox of someone you so wish didn’t read your cursing. The rule of thumb is, it’s better to be safe than to be sorry
6. Thou shall avoid unnecessary jokes
It’s good to be friendly in your emails but you should avoid unnecessary jokes. Remember, meanings are often in people more than in words and what you may consider funny might be considered inappropriate by someone else.
7. Thou shall avoid forwarding emails to the wrong person
Before you hit the forward button, always double check the send to field to ensure you knows who you are sending the email to. You don’t want your supervisor receiving gossip about him in his inbox
8. Thou shall avoid excessive formatting
Ok. I know there is the WYSIWYG editor but it doesn’t mean you have to try everything in it. Just keep your email clean and crisp. Unless it is absolutely necessary that you use more than one color, stick to black.
9. Thou shall use BCC and CC appropriately
When you write to Tom and BCC Dick, Tom will get the email without knowing that Dick did. When you write to Tom and CC Dick and Harry, all the recipients will see who else received the email. Make sure you know who to BCC and who to CC before you hit the send button
10. Thou shall always reply your emails
It is rude to read an email that needs a reply and you just ignore it. A reply is an acknowledgement that you received the email, and that you understood the contents. Sometimes, all you need to say is thank you.