Email

An informative subject line

Use ultra-specific verbiage within the email’s subject line to spark interest and encourage the recipient to prioritize the email.

  • This will help confirm that the message is not spam or junk mail.

A personal salutation

Depending on the nature of the business relationship, address the recipient by their first name and/or their last name with an honorific.

  • An honorific may always be included, but is most appropriate in situations of initial contact (Dr., Mr., Mrs., or Ms.).

A sensible structure

Format your email in successive paragraphs to achieve an organized, professional structure and smooth the flow of information.

  • First paragraph:
    • If you are replying to an email from the recipient, thank them for their email
    • Introduce yourself if necessary
    • Provide a brief overview of the purpose of the email
  • Main body:
    • Give thorough yet concise instruction or information
    • Be aware of the recipient’s level of understanding and tailor the content accordingly

The appropriate tone

  • Keep the phrase “It’s not what you say, but how you say it” in mind when composing emails to customers.
    • If delivering not-so-great news, consider first explaining what unfortunately cannot be done, but what can be done instead.
    • Offering an alternative in place of a “No” will better reflect your organization’s high regard for customer satisfaction.

A professional closing

  • Choose a closing depending on the type of business relationship held with the recipient.
    • Some examples are “Sincerely”, “Regards”, or simply, “Thank you” if you have requested something in the email that warrants a response.
  • Follow your closing line with your first and last name, your title, and any appropriate contact information.

Things to avoid:

  •  ALL CAPS
  • Inconsistent font style or text color
  • Excessive exclamation points
  • Negative or inappropriate language
  • Internal jargon
  • Anything you would not want to become public

What other email etiquette tips can you share?

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