Email Guidelines

There are the general guidelines which I follow while emailing:

:: Write clearly and concisely. Avoid ambiguity, make single points simply, avoid subtlety, avoid sarcasm, and keep sentences short.

:: Read first, send later. If you are angry, annoyed, frustrated, or emotional, hold back until you have taken a breath and read your composition from the perspective of the recipient.

:: Watch your grammar. A misplaced sentence can give a whole other meaning to what you have written, literally.

:: Buy time. If you can’t respond quickly, for whatever reason, send a quick ‘holding’ e-mail to tell the sender that you received their communication, are aware of its requirements, and will get to it. It’s often a good idea to give an approximate time-frame for your response.

:: E-mail is a conversation. Greet and meet the recipient; sign off cordially; be concerned with being interested more than being interesting; don’t monologue – invite an exchange rather than deliver a speech.

:: Use technology to your advantage. Set up work flows and configure your mail application to assist you in managing e-mail exchanges with the minimum of fuss to you, and the maximum of benefit to all parties.

Would you like to add up your advice?


2 thoughts on “Email Guidelines”

  1. Thank you for posting this. A lot of people forget that through any kind of text-based communication, especially formal email, you aren’t communicating a number of things that we usually take for granted.

    Your body language, tone of your voice etc. all play a part in everyday communication, yet are absent from email. This is why you must choose your words carefully and try to follow these guidelines.

    Writing style matters a lot as well. It is so common to find a long email, clumped into a single paragraph. Or hidden inside or under a few pages of quoted text. All this greatly reduces the readability of your message.

    I often try to get people to follow these simple guidelines, but in our society these things take a backseat and are rarely given any importance. Sigh.

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