Email do’s and don’ts

This mini-lesson explains some things you should do (DO’s) and some things you should not do (DON’Ts) when writing and sending emails.

Email do’s and don’ts

DO

1. Check you have the right name(s) in the TO: field. Beware of “Reply All”. Only send your email to the people who need to read it.

2. Check you have spelled (written) the person’s name correctly in the salutation. For example: Dear Ms Johnson (not: Dear Ms Johnston).

3. Use a tone appropriate to your relationship with the person you’re writing the email to. In general, in business emails it is appropriate to be both polite and friendly.

4. Read your email and check it for mistakes BEFORE you send it. If it is a very important email, you could ask a colleague to also check it. Some things to check:

– are the spelling and grammar correct? (Be very careful about the spelling of people’s names.)

– have you provided all the information you need to provide?

– if you are responding to an email, have you covered all the points in the other person’s email?

– is the tone polite and friendly?

5. Check that you have attached any files that you need to attach.

6. Use a clear, direct subject line so the recipient knows the purpose of your email.

 

DON’T

1. Use ALL CAPS. In English, ALL CAPS is interpreted as shouting at the recipient of the email, and it is considered to be impolite.

2. Make your email too long. Business people tend to be busy and don’t have a lot of time to read long emails, so keep your emails short, but polite and friendly.

3. Use humour. Humour can vary greatly across cultures, and it is best to avoid trying to be funny in business emails.

 

This is not an exhaustive list of do’s and don’ts, but it is a good basic checklist for writing business emails that are appropriate and professional.

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