1. KEEP IT BRIEF
No one likes to read on and on to get to the point. State your message concisely and simply. If you have a question, get to it quickly.
2. USE THE SUBJECT LINE
Alert your recipient to what your email is about or you risk being ignored or relegated to the read-later (or never) list. Avoid using alert words, like Urgent, unless the matter really requires urgent attention or you become the boy who cried wolf.
3. KEEP THEM FEW AND TARGETED
If you blanket someone’s inbox, you’ll soon be ignored. Save up several little matters to send in one email.
On the other hand, if you have a matter that needs immediate attention, don’t bury it inside a laundry list of insignificant issues.
4. BE PUNCTILIOUS, NOT SLAPDASH
Edit your emails as if they were formal letters. Omit slang and overly familiar language.
5. WATCH THE PUNCTUATION
Don’t use all caps for emphasis. Use 12 point type and proper punctuation, meaning capitalize the first letter of each sentence and use a period at the end. Then, proofread. (And please don’t use a ridiculous font.)
6. CONSIDER YOUR CCS AND BCCS
Don’t copy people on your email unless they need to see the message. And don’t forget to use the BCC field, particularly for emails sent to large groups. People don’t want their emails shared so widely.
Hide the recipients’ addresses in the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) Field.
7. THINK BEFORE HITTING ‘REPLY ALL’
Sometimes people are copied on emails out of courtesy, but individual replies don’t need to be copied to everyone. It’s a rookie mistake.
8. OMIT ANY SILLINESS: NO EMOTICONS!
If you’re trying to be funny, stop; business emails are not the place for this. Your recipients, frankly, may be in no mood for lightness and mirth.
9. WATCH YOUR TONE
Without the benefit of facial expressions or body language, words are easily misinterpreted. So, keep your sentences simple and declarative. Keep the message focused and don’t go off on tangents.
10. INDICATE WHAT LINKS ARE
Never add a link without indicating what it is — not in an age of uber vigilance over suspicious links that threaten to take us to where thieves lay in wait to steal our identities.
Not only should you not send an unidentified link — never open one either.