E-mailing holds an important place in business communication. There are so many business deals and decisions which are woven around E-mails. An excellent business proposal can fail due to a poorly written E-mail meanwhile an average proposal can get approval because of a well written and structured one.
Often people feel that it requires an exceptional command over grammar and language to write a good E-mail. No doubt it’s an added advantage if a person holds a good command over language. But meanwhile it is never a barrier for a person who holds an average knowledge of language.
It needs to be understood that the purpose of an E-mail is to convey a thought or message effectively and not to prove one’s knowledge of language. What if the recipient is unable to understand an excellent literary expression? What if a recipient doesn't want to read an E-mail just because he feels that it is too inconvenient to read?
E-mailing is more of an art than a language game. Let’s explore this art with following tips and techniques:
1 It is advisable to write two or more small sentences instead of a single long sentence. Small sentences are easy to understand for the reader. Meanwhile it is easier for the sender to write them.
2 Don’t unnecessarily stretch a sentence. It is better to write “Please consider my request than “Please take into consideration my request”.
3 Use words as simple as possible. Believe me that nobody will get impressed with you if he needs to refer a dictionary to decode your E-mail. It is better to use “enough” instead of “adequate” and “quick” instead of “spunky”.
4 Don’t mix up topics in a single paragraph. Create separate points or paragraphs for different topics.
5 Don’t write E-mails in capital letters. Use capital letters as you do in any other normal document. Writing in caps is like shouting thru a written medium and this can trigger an unwanted response from the recipient.
6 If you feel that you have to write a similar content frequently, you can save your content in a word file. You can use copy and paste option instead of typing same material time and again. This will save your time and meanwhile it will minimize the chances of grammatical mistakes.
7 Prefer active voice instead of passive. It is better to write “I shall do your work” than to write “Your work will be done”. Active sentences are direct, short and shows a personal involvement of the sender into the issue.
8 Avoid overuse of
9 For cross country communication always mention time zone ( like IST, GMT etc) while writing time.
10 Spell out the month while writing dates. This will eliminate the doubt if you have used a DD/MM/YY format or MM/DD/YY format. It is advisable to write “04-March-2007” than to write "04-03-07".
11 Don’t type the ‘to’ or ‘cc’ address first. Your E-mail can be sent accidentally before you write it completely if you write the ‘to’ or ‘cc’ address first.
12 The subject line should be suggestive to the content of the E-mail. Recipient must be able to easily understand the nature of your E-mail content by the subject line itself.
13 Avoid using chat language in E-mails. Chat language is suitable for Instant Messengers because the response time is comparatively too less while communicating thru Instant Messengers.
14 Use the high priority option only when your E-mail needs an urgent attention.
15 Avoid hazy expressions while writing measurable or quantifiable details. It is better to write “Four storey building” than to write “Multi storey building”.
16 Prefer positive voice instead of negative. It is better to write “You can call me before 11:00 PM” than to write “Please don’t call me after 11:00 PM.
17 Don’t use an abbreviation if you are not sure that the recipient can understand the same.
18 If you forward a long chain of E-mails to a new person, always sum up the main contents of the entire communication before forwarding. Don’t just write “please go thru the below communication and suggest”
19 Don’t over-use punctuation like question mark, exclamatory sign and full stop. As a person can’t die more than once, in the same way there is no meaning to use the full stop sign more than once. Using more than one question mark can annoy or irritate the reader.
20 Use formal fonts like Arial or Verdana or Times New Roman. These are internationally accepted for formal communication and are supported by most of the operating systems.