COMMUNICATING BY E-MAIL
1. A first impression is lasting:
E-mail's ease of use allows us a bit of leeway in our day-to-day communication. Nonetheless you should ensure you have checked (and double-checked) your spelling and grammar. Particularly in business messages where you want to build a trust with people and make them feel confident about your attention to detail, etc.
2. Reply quickly to e-mails:
Internet time is faster than regular time. Put in place a procedure that turns e-mail queries around within 24 hours. Do quote a part of the sender's e-mail. It is unnecessary to remind them of what you're responding to. Save time by having standard replies or drafts ready for common questions.
3. Learn how to add character to your messages:
Plain ASCII text used within the body of an e-mail is flat and doesn't allow much room for nuance, tone or humor. By using space, asterisks, caps, quotes, and other characters, you can emphasize parts of your message, and also help convey your intended tone. Avoid using all caps as they MAKE YOU LOOK LIKE YOU'RE SHOUTING.
4. Never send uninvited attachments:
Ask intended recipients whether they accept attachments, and in what format. For one thing, you don't know if the recipient has the same software or even computer platform to accept your attachments. Viruses are a serious issue, and attachments are fast becoming a popular deliver method. E-mails with attachments are simply deleted in many businesses.
5. Respect cultural differences:
Now, more than ever before, we live in an "global village." You must remember cultural differences and respect the customs of international clients. Be formal in e-mails until you are confident that it is appropriate to adopt a more casual tone with clients and potential clients. It's good practice to avoid informal writing that may offend, such as slang, bad language and nicknames.
6. Never send unsolicited mass e-mails:
They may seem like a good marketing idea, but they will damage your reputation. Learn how to build your own opt-in mailing list.
7. Don't e-mail when you're angry:
Because plain text in an e-mail is so flat, people can often misinterpret the "tone" of a message. If you receive an e-mail that makes you see red, wait 24 hours, as difficult as it may seem, before responding. Give the sender the benefit of the doubt, and respond in a courteous manner. More often than not the person did not intend to sound as harsh or off-putting as their message came across.