Professional Email Correspondence Tips – Asbury University
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Professional Email Correspondence Tips

Your email correspondence is as much a part of your professional image as the clothes you wear, the letters you write, the greeting on your voice mail and the handshake you offer. If you want to impress on every front and build positive relationships, pay attention to your email and follow these top 10 tips.

  1. Fill in the subject line. It makes no sense to send a message that reads “no subject” and seems to be about nothing. Given the huge volume of email that each person receives, the subject header is essential if you want your message read any time soon. The subject line has become the hook.
  2. Make your subject line meaningful. Your header should be pertinent to your message, not just “Hi” or “Hello.” The recipient is going to decide the order in which he or she reads email based on who sent it and what it is about. Your email will have lots of competition.
  3. Personalize your message to the recipient. Email is informal but it still needs a greeting. Begin with “Dear Dr. Crouse,” “Dear Kris,” “Hello Kris,” or just “Kris.” Failure to put in the person’s name can make you and your e- mail seem cold.
  4. Be sure to account for tone. When you communicate with another person face to face, 93% of the message is non-verbal. Email has no body language. The reader cannot see your face or hear your tone of voice so choose your words carefully and thoughtfully. Put yourself in the other person’s place and think how your words may come across in cyberspace.
  5. Remember to check for spelling and grammar. In the early days of email, someone created the notion that this form of communication did not have to be letter perfect. Wrong. It does. It is a representation of you. If you don’t check to be sure email is correct, people will question the caliber of other work you do. Use proper capitalization and punctuation, and always check your spelling.
  6. Keep your message brief. Email is meant to be to the point. Keep your message short. Use only a few paragraphs and a few sentences per paragraph.
  7. Do not forward email without permission. Too often, confidential information has gone global because of someone’s lack of judgment. Unless you are asked or request permission, do not forward anything that was sent just to you.
  8. Remember that others may see your email. Once it has left your mailbox, you have no idea where your email will end up. Don’t use the Internet to send anything that you couldn’t stand to see on a billboard on your way to work the next day. Use other means to communicate personal or sensitive information.
  9. Remember your signature. Always close with your name, even though it is included at the top of the email, and add contact information such as your phone, fax, and street address. The recipient may want to call to talk further or send you documents that cannot be emailed. Creating a formal signature block with all that data is the most professional approach.
  10. Wait to complete the “TO” line LAST. The name or address of the person to whom you are writing is actually the last piece of information you should enter. Check everything else over carefully first. Proof for grammar, punctuation, spelling and clarity. Did you say what needed to be said? How was your “tone of voice”? If you were the least bit emotional when you wrote the email, did you let it sit for a period of time? Did you include the attachment you wanted to send? If you enter the recipient’s name first, a mere slip of the finger can send a message before its time. You can never take it back.