Today, one of the most common methods of communication is email. It is the most widely used mode of communication, next to the telephone, the post office and the FAX machine. Writing a professional, business-like email is a crucial skill. At the same time, it is important to follow proper etiquette otherwise as well, while dealing with people via emails. Email etiquette rules are implemented for three reasons: professionalism, efficiency and protection from liability. By using proper email language, a company conveys a professional image. Emails that are to the point are much more effective than poorly worded emails. Employee awareness of email risks will protect a company from costly law suits. Read on to know rules of email etiquette.
Email Etiquette Rules
Start with a Salutation
To begin with, start your email by addressing the person to whom you are writing. If the email is meant for a friend, you can skip the salutation.
- For business messages, begin your email with “Dear Mr. Kapoor” or “Dear Professor Singh” if you do not know the person.
- In case you are in a working relationship with the person, you can address as “Dear Joe” or “Dear Mandira”.
Use Short Paragraphs
Do not waste time waffling and get straight to the point. Divide your email into two or four short paragraphs. Discuss only a single idea in each paragraph. Use bullet points, in case you are listing several questions for the recipient to answer, suggesting a number of alternative options, or explaining the steps that you would be carrying out. Use a double line break between paragraphs instead of an indent (tab).
Stick to one topic
In case there are several different issues to be discussed, do not put them in a single mail. Create separate mails for separate issues, as it can be hard for some people to keep track of different email threads and conversations, if the topics get jumbled up.
Use Capitals Appropriately
The following rules should be followed while drafting an email.
- Never ever write a whole sentence (a whole email to make matters worse) in capitals.
- Always capitalize “I” and the first letter of proper nouns (names).
- Capitalize acronyms (USA, BBC, NDTV, etc.)
- Always begin a sentence with a capital letter.
Sign off the mail
In case you are writing an internal company email, put a double space after your last paragraph and type your name. If the email is more formal, close it appropriately.
- If you know the name of your addressee, use “Yours sincerely”.
- For very formal emails such as job applications, use “Yours faithfully” when you have addressed it to “Dear Sir/ Madam”.
- In other situations, you can use “Best regards” or “Kind regards”.
- To whomsoever you are writing, it is polite to sign off an email with “All the best”, “Take care” or “Have a nice day”, before typing your name.
Use Sensible Email Signature
Wherever appropriate, include your name, email address, telephone number and postal address. It will be easier for your correspondents to find your contact details, as they will not have to root through the first message you had sent them.