Shirley's Articles / Email Essentials

Top Ten Tips For Emailing

1. Respond to a message as soon as you receive it.

This is common courtesy, even if you have to say that a detailed response will be sent later.

2. Check the email address.

Correctly addressed email messages are delivered within seconds. It can take days to receive an error message letting you know that an incorrectly-addressed message did not get delivered. Keep your online address book up-to-date. Remember, once sent, a message cannot be retrieved. It could be damaging if it is received by the wrong person!

3. Always include a subject heading.

This should give the recipient a good idea of the contents of the message and makes for easier handling and filing. Don’t use subject lines line ‘Enquiry’ or ‘Help needed’ – these are less than useless and may not be read by a busy person scanning the subject lines quickly.

4. Keep caps lock off.

Capitals are difficult to read, they INDICATE SHOUTING and can appear THREATENING! And also don’t use lots of exclamation marks!!***!!!!! also pls don’t use lower case letters with abbreviations n acronyms. if u write in this way u r thought of as lazy and not businesslike!!!*!!!

5. Get your greeting right.

Formality doesn’t read well in email. Replace formal salutations like ‘Dear Pam’ with informal ‘Hi Pam’ or even just ‘Pam’. Similarly replace ‘ Yours sincerely’ with ‘Best wishes’ or even ‘Cheers’. Try to avoid overuse of the very boring ‘Regards’, or worse still abbreviations like “Thks & Rgs” – don’t be lazy! Think of something novel and different – or why not just your name?

6. Keep copies.

Just as you would keep copies of letters, it is good practice to take a hard copy of important emails sent and received.

7. Check your message carefully and get it right first time.

There’s no second chance with emails – once you hit ‘send’ it will be in the recipient’s mailbox within seconds!

8. Do some house-keeping regularly.

Delete or file your old and read messages so as to keep your system fast and efficient. Do your filing and deleting regularly. If you receive copies of emails that you don’t need to see, tell the author so that it doesn’t happen again.

9. Take pride in your message.

When composing on screen, it is easy to allow sentences to become very long. Make an effort to keep sentences short and simple, and check your syntax. The more pride you take in your message composition, the more successful you will be in being understood and achieving the desired results.

10. Do pick up the telephone now and again.

Remember, it’s good to talk!To help you, I’ve put together a checklist of reasons why your writing style may not be working as effectively as it should.

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Shirley is an international bestselling author. She has established herself as a leading authority in email and business writing skills. Her international bestseller Model Business Letters, Emails & Other Business Documents 7th edition sold over half a million copies worldwide and has been translated into 17 languages. Her book Email Essentials reached #2 in the USA for publishers Marshall Cavendish International. Find out more about Shirley at

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