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Writing Effective Email Messages

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The speed, ease and interactive nature of email coupled with clear messages can be an effective way to communicate with customers, vendors and employees.

However, not all emails communicate clearly or professionally. Consider the following two messages:

“hi bill we got your order and wanted some more info. whats your address/? we need the po# 2 thnx jim”

And:

“Dear Bill,

Thank you for your order. We need some additional details to get the order processed and shipped quickly. Please provide a shipping address and a purchase order number.

Thanks again for the order. We appreciate your business.

Jim Smith

800/123-4567

[email protected]

Which one do you think makes the better impression on your customer?

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when you write an email.

  1. Treat your email with respect. It should be like any other piece of business correspondence. That means proper spelling and punctuation. Do not use slang, text language or short hand. Many people print emails and you want any printed material to properly represent you and your company. Take the time to read over what you’ve written to ensure clarity and correct grammar.
  1. Get to the point. Many people receive dozens of emails every day. Get your reader’s attention by getting to the point very quickly. The reader may never get to your message if it is hidden in the second or third paragraph.
  1. Include contact information by having an email signature. Always make it easy for the reader to get back in touch with you by including your name, phone number and email address in your signature. Remember that the message may be printed out and then deleted from the reader’s system. If that happens, the reply button will not be sufficient.
  1. Make it look good. Format the message so that it is easy to read. A page of single-spaced type is no easier to read on a computer screen than it is on a sheet of paper. Some white space (a line) between paragraphs will make it much easier to read. You can use bold and italic if needed. However, a message that is all bold or in all capital letters is unprofessional.
  1. Be careful with attachments. Attach information if it is appropriate to the message. Large attachments with extensive graphics take time to download and fill a person’s inbox. If you want your reader to see your brochure, make it a part of your website and provide a link in the email message. The reader can always print it from your website.

Email is an essential tool in the workforce today and creating professional emails is an everyday occurrence. Maintaining diligence in how your emails are written will keep your employer, coworkers and clients confident in your professionalism and communication abilities.

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