“You’ve got mail.”
Do you remember hearing that?
It’s one of those legendary pieces of Internet history formed when the road was still being paved and we were looking for our way through the desert of what was the original World Wide Web.
These days, we’ve replaced that message with Tweets, likes, and status updates, but that doesn’t mean that our affinity for email is any less. In fact, because of the noise that is social media, one could argue that the inbox has become our virtual dojo, our place of solitude amongst the chaos.
Email has become an essential form of business communication. Although personal email is informal, emailing for business requires professionalism and courtesy. The basic parts of a paper business letter apply to Internet correspondence as well.
Writing Your Email
Use a neutral Email address. Your Email address should be a variation of your real name, not a username or nickname.
Use periods, hyphens, or underscores to secure an e-mail address that’s just your name, without extra numbers or letters, if you can.
- Never use an unprofessional email address. No one will take you seriously if your reply-to is monsignor.harry.manback@slip’nslides.net.
- Make the subject line brief and accurate. Avoid using designations that could trigger the recipient’s spam filter, such as “Re,” a traditional office memo abbreviation for “Regarding,” or “Fwd,” which means a forwarded email message. Always fill in the subject line; leaving it blank also could kick your message into the spam folder.
Typos, all caps or all small case can lend to an unprofessional impression or that you may be spammer.
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- Use a professional salutation for business email messages. “Dear Mr. Foster” creates a much better impression than “Hey, Bob” and reflects your image as a business person. Leave a blank line after the salutation, then begin the body of the email. This pattern makes the entire message easier for the recipient to read.
If you don’t know the name of the person you’re writing to (but you really should try to find one) use “Dear Sir/Madam” or “Dear Sir or Madam” followed by a colon.
Introduce yourself in the first paragraph
- Follow standard business letter guidelines for your email’s body. Use polite language to make a request or explain a point. If you’re not sure the recipient will remember you or if you’re making contact for the first time, introduce yourself in the first line.”Thank you for speaking with me last Thursday regarding the Johnson website” will jog the recipient’s memory before you get into the details of the business at hand.
- My name is John Jonson. I’m contacting you according to the instructions in http://www.mspinedo.com to schedule an appointment for my Job Interview Practice in Web Development Course.
- My name is Arlene Rivers. I am writing about internship interview. I obtained your Email address from Ms. Pinedo’s website.
Write the actual message.
Be sure to get your point across without rambling; if it’s fluffed up, the reader may glance over the important details. Try to break up the message into paragraphs by topic to make your message more logical and digestible.
- The email should be no more than 5 paragraphs long and each paragraph should be no more than 5 sentences long.
- Insert a line break between each paragraph; indenting isn’t necessary and will likely be lost during the email transfer anyway.
- Be sure to avoid informal writing.
Use the correct form of leave-taking.
This will depend on your level of intimacy with the recipient. Examples include:
- Yours sincerely,
- Yours cordially,
- Your student,
- Add a blank line after the body of the email, again to make the message easier on the eyes, then end the message with a polite sign-off, such as “Yours truly,” “Sincerely” or even “Thanks.”After your name, add your website and/or email address, phone number. your title with the company and even the office’s address if desired.This offers the recipient all your contact information in one place.
Read Twice, Send Once
Before hitting “Send,” reread the email to search for problems: Is the recipient’s email address correct in the “To” field, is there an appropriate line in the “Subject” field and is the message free from spelling, context or grammatical errors. Double-check your signature and contact information as well.
Use only black or dark gray color text on a white background. Pick a businesslike font, such as Times New Roman or Courier. Do not use colored, curvy fonts, graphics-heavy backgrounds, emoticons or Internet slang, such as “LOL” (Laughing Out Loud). Avoid typing a message in all capital letters, which is considered yelling in text form. If you’re sending a business email to a large number of recipients, use the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) option. That way, each reader’s email address is protected and less likely to end up on someone’s spam list.
Questions and Answers
Do I write my name and address as the top of an email?
- You do not typically need to include your mailing address or email address in an email. You may include your business phone number and/or business website URL at the end of the email, under your name.
How should you mention that an email includes an attachment?
- Write “Please refer to the attached document.” anywhere in the email that seems appropriate.
Do I have to leave a blank line between leave-taking and my name?
- You can add a blank line or not, whichever you think looks best.
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