E-Mail has become a preferred method of communication for employees in most organizations today. It is not uncommon for a person who is sitting in one cubicle that is directly next to another employee’s cubicle to email vs. getting up and talking to them. It is considered less hassle, more efficient, and leaves a trail of accountability – or lack thereof. The written word leaves an impression of the employee who sent it. Customer service skills should be especially adhered to in this type of communication.
When sending an email for the first time to someone, think of it as a letter. Start with a salutation such as Dear Jane, or you can just start with their name, Jane. The next paragraph should contain the content you are sending, then complete the email with a closing salutation and your name. If a trail gets started with emails going back and forth between you and the other person, you may leave off the opening and closing salutations.
It is also helpful to have a signature block that contains your name, company name, email address, phone number, and website. This way the recipient is able to check for additional background or call if they wish.
Other basic rules:
1. Notify if you are unavailable either through an auto-responder or have someone else check your email and respond in your absence if you are unable to respond within 24 hours.
2. Using all uppercase or all lowercase should be avoided.
3. Never double-space your entire message.
4. Be careful of using humor or sarcasm.
5. Allow cool-off time before sending a flame or emotional message.
6. Selectively choose when necessary to request a receipt.
7. If you don’t have something to say, don’t say it – not all e-mails deserve responses.
8. Don’t forward sensitive messages or copyrighted articles without permission.
9. Slang word usage is not appropriate for business emails.
Remember “Everything Speaks”. Your email message is a written reflection of who you are and how you handle yourself in business situations. Take care to present yourself well.