Guidelines on Reading, Writing, and Managing Emails
Often people tend to ignore your emails, leave them unread, miss them due to their busy schedule etc. Irrespective of the scenario, you end up not getting a response to your email. In such scenarios, send a reminder email to the recipient and keep it soft and polite something like:Hello <<Recipient>>,
A soft reminder on the below email or highlighted item etc.
In case you are referring to the highlighted item in the below email thread, ensure that the color used to highlight the content which you are referring to is not used anywhere else in the thread else it might lead to confusion.
10. Use Smiley Faces wherever appropriate.
Use Smiley Faces while writing emails wherever appropriate. Smiley Faces though are a simple thing, they play a very important role in changing the perception of the recipient about your email. It can help put across a hard/heavy request in a polite/soft way.
However, ensure that Smiley Faces are used diligently and not too much. Also, take care to ensure Smiley Faces are used in appropriate places. Use of Smiley Faces in inappropriate places might lead to representing sarcasm even though you are not sarcastic in the email.
11. Use Sections, Bullet Points and Paragraphs to Keep the email Clean & Crisp.
An email should be short enough to cover the matter and long enough to convey the matter. Use Sections, Bullet Points and Paragraphs to keep the content clear and crisp so that the recipient can understand the message that you want to convey.
12. Ensure that the Images are not lost in subsequent responses/threads.
While including images in the email, paste them in the email to make them a part of the email body instead of attaching the file. The advantage of this approach is that, even when others reply on top of this email, the images are maintained in the email which might play an important role in conveying the required information/message.
If the images are attached as files instead of including in email body, when someone replies on top of your email, the attachment is lost and it might become difficult for others to get a better understanding of the content without the images, which were attached for the purpose of better understanding.
13. Use Inline Comments to provide Inputs/Responses to a set of Questions/Pointers.
While providing your inputs/responses to a set of questions or pointers make use of inline comments (with appropriate font style, color etc.) to make it more clear. Inline comment can be something like this:
What guidelines should be used for writing emails ?
[Datta]: I will be publishing an article on the standards/guidelines on writing emails in next couple days and you can follow those guidelines.
The above highlighted text represents an Inline Comment.
14. Mark Corrections in a Previously Sent email as appropriate.
Though, there is an option to recall a sent message in Outlook, it’s better to mark corrections instead of recalling a message. The reason being, marking corrections will help the person understand, what was the issue with previously sent email, where as recalling an email does not tell the recipient why an email was recalled.
Mark corrections with appropriate font style, color, background etc. as shown below.
I will be publishing an article on “Best Practices Guidelines on Reading, Writing, and Managing Emails”.
As shown in the above example, strike out the invalid/inappropriate text and add new text with appropriate font style, color, & background.
15. Use Bcc… field wherever required to Avoid Spam.
Bcc… field is used in many scenarios like to add yourself on the Bcc… list so that you get a copy of the email that you are sending, to send information to a broader audience etc.
Often, when you send useful information (which could be just an FYI…) to broader audience, or while requesting some information like say you are collecting the details of certifications by each of the team members in your team etc. make sure to include the intended audience in Bcc… so that even if the recipient does a “Reply All” by mistake (which is usually the case with few people), only you would get the email there by avoiding spam.
Remember to add a note at the bottom of the email indicating the list of people or distribution groups which are added in Bcc… field. This will ensure 100% transparency.
16. Loop in Additional People in case they need Visibility into the item being discussed in the email.
In case you need to loop in additional people into the previously sent email (you might have forgotten to include few people) or into an email which you just received and you feel that the additional people whom you are adding need visibility into the item being discussed in the email. Following format can be used to loop in people into the emails:
Do a “Reply All” and say + John, David, & James as they are part of Testing Team.
In the above example, John, David, & James are the folks whom you are adding to the loop and “as they are part of Testing Team” is the justification on why those people are being added.
Justification is optional but is good to include. In case you cannot think of any appropriate justification, in most cases, it is ok to say something like “+ John, David, & James for visibility“.
17. Use Email Signature with Appropriate & Useful Information.
Email Signatures are meant to provide additional information to the recipients. However, they can also be used to market yourself or your product or to publicize your skills, your team, or your organization etc. Ensure that useful information is included in the email signatures, which includes some of these common details:
(i) Contact Information – Address (Optional), Phone Number etc.
(iii) Link to Company Website/Help Center
(iv) Additional Email Addresses like the Support@XYZCorporation.com etc.
(v) In case of people working in support, you can also include the SLA details etc.
(vi) Additional Information/Content – Other additional content which one can include is your favorite quote (make sure you don’t present your emotions here), your certifications/awards/accolades, company’s certifications/awards/accolades etc.
18. Do a thorough Spelling Check before sending an email.
This is the last but not the least of all the guidelines on writing emails. Ensure that proper spelling is used in the email and you have performed a thorough spell check before sending the email.
* These guidelines are written from official emails standpoint and not from personal emails standpoint.