E-mail Week is June 13-19: Let's Review Proper E-mail Etiquette

Samantha Gregory-Applewhite

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E-mail is everywhere. Everyone uses it. But is it being used correctly? Just like the dreaded book report or business report, e-mail messages require proper grammar and usage. Businesses are especially vulnerable to improper e-mail usage because it could affect business in a negative way. Since the internet and e-mail are a vital part of business operations today, a few tips, or guidelines will help business owners make the best impression on their customers, suppliers, and associates. Here are five guidelines for better e-mail communication.

No Rude Yelling

Nobody likes to be yelled at, especially current or potential clients. Using all CAPS in your e-mail is like yelling. When emphasis is needed on a certain word using all caps is acceptable. Using the excuse that you cannot navigate the shift key is not acceptable. Get your secretary, you sister, or a trusted friend to write e-mails for you instead of taking the risk and running off good customers because you yelled at them for no reason. Also, remember to place first letter caps on the first word in the sentence.

Use the Spell Checker

Misspelled words are a turn-off to most professionals. The spell checker is a useful tool to avoid embarrassing yourself in front of everyone. There are times, however, when the spell checker must be double checked because the word you used may be spelled correctly but is used inappropriately. This is where proofreading comes in. Go over your e-mail after you have written it. Read it out loud to catch any mistakes. It is a good idea to write your e-mail in a word processing document before sending it off though your e-mail system.

Watch Your Voice

It’s easy to write like you talk, but it’s not always advisable. Active voice or passive voice? The difference is profound. When writing, use the active voice. In other words, the noun is acting and in not being acted upon.

Punctual Punctuation

Punctuation is often overlooked in e-mail messages. Periods, commas, semi-colons, etc. are misused or misplaced in sentences making the whole paragraph awkward. Your thought will come across better when the punctuation is correct.

Spaces Not Indentions

It is easier to read e-mail when a one line space is between paragraphs. All e-mail programs are not created equally so adding the extra space instead of tabbing to indent makes the e-mail text easy on the eyes. Also, remember to make a new paragraph with each new thought or subject. It is confusing to read a paragraph that contains the general greeting, product specials, and news about your pet dog all at once.

E-mail week is here, so take it upon yourself to polish your e-mail writing skills in this much-used medium. Remember that the person you are communicating with doesn’t like to be yelled at. Use the spell checker liberally but wisely. Watch your voice and be active while you are at it. Your thought will come across much better when the punctuation is in the right place. The message is easier to read when there is one space between the paragraphs. Happy E-mail Week!

To learn more about e-mail writing or basic business writing e-mail Samantha Gregory-Applewhite at samantha@applewhitecommunications.com

Visit http://www.applewhitecommunications.com for business and technical writing services that assists small businesses in marketing their services and products.


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