You Are Your E-Mails, Part Deux

Compose yourself!

Here are five more key tips—plus one to grow on—about business e-mails.

5.  Use good grammar to stay in good graces.
I’m not your high school English teacher, so this is not my attempt a preemptive “tsk, tsk, tsk.”  It’s simply a reminder that you’ll better represent yourself, your company—your brand—when you use proper grammar and spelling.

6.  Close it out kindly.
Round out your e-mails with some kind of concluding thought orsign off.  If you use a standard signature at the end messages, do not embed your sign off     in the signature, as there will be many occasions when you’ll need to customize your conclusion.

7.  Create useful subject lines.
Think of subject lines as labels, kind of like what you’d place on work files or saved documents.  Accurately state the subject or purpose of your e-mail to not only help your recipient be prepared for the message to come, but to then properly file or access it for future use.

8.  Give “To” its due; copy that for “Cc” and “Bcc.”
Fill in the “To,” “Cc” and “Bcc” fields last before sending e-mails to avoid the trigger-happy misfire..  There’s comfort in giving yourself enough time to review your message,     re-check spelling and be certain about who should receive it.

9.  Be wise with replies.
In an evolution of point #7, be cautious in replying to messages.  Carefully observe the recipients of the message and decide if your reply should be “Reply all” or “Reply     to sender” (or reply to ‘some,’ in which case you should delete names accordingly).

10.  Keep the chain.
When replying to a single message or a multiple message exchange, keep previous messages below your current reply (though it helps to add a few spaces after your sign-off to create a visual breather in the ‘conversation’).  The full chain of content within the body of the e-mail is a good reference.  If the message becomes ridiculously long, start anew.

11.  Remember, e-mails are conversations.
Don’t shy away from showing personality in your messages.  The occasional anecdote, a well-placed exclamation point, use of contractions and conversational words helps keep all this electronic communicating more, well, human.

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