Being inundated with countless emails daily is in itself a challenge. Coupled with that, what can be most frustrating is, receiving emails that one has nothing to do with or that which requires a couple of reads to understand what it means!
A simple checklist that can come handy:
- State a meaningful subject line. It must convey what the main body of the email is about. Think of it as your elevator pitch. And if you are replying back to someone, don’t forget to edit the subject line to suit your message.
- Use appropriate greetings and introduction.
- Do you have to mark a cc to everyone? Think.
- Do not write the text in capital letters. It gives the impression that you are screaming.
- Be careful about forwarding emails that were meant for you. Does the sender want you to do that?
- If it is a critical matter or something that is sensitive, don’t be in a hurry to press the enter key. Write and keep. Come back to it after an hour or so. You probably will want to rephrase it or not want to send it at all.
- Avoid sending greetings and congratulatory messages to all and sundry. Please personalize it.
- If you were to pay for each email you send out, would you send it? It is sometimes better to walk across the office floor or pick up the phone and have that conversation.
- The lesson we all learnt in school: Proof read before submitting/sending.
- Sometimes it is important to blind cc for privacy when sending bulk email. It is not always a bad thing.
- This one is specially for students: It is wise to have an ‘official sounding’ email when communicating with teachers or college counselors. firstname.lastname@example.org may not be a cool idea!
- If you are adding an attachment, check to see that you have done so. It is also a good idea to paste the content of the attachment (if not too long) in the main body of the text. It is easier to read.
- Can this email be more crisp? Do ask yourself and remove the fluff.