- Always include a concise subject line. This will make clear what your message is about and will help recipients prioritize their inbox.
- If this is the first few communications with someone, begin the message with a greeting, such as "Dear Mr. Jones." It's polite and it's professional. Later on "Hello, John" is perfectly fine.
- Do not write your message in all caps. It sets an angry tone, and NO ONE LIKES TO BE YELLED AT.
- Do put your main point in the opening sentence. Let people know exactly what you are writing about. They are just as busy as you are.
- Do write short, polite paragraphs. Your message should not be a novel.
- But... don't be so short so that your tone is bossy. Read over your message. Do you sound bossy? "If you have a moment, I would like to speak with you right away," sounds so much nicer than, "I want to talk with you ASAP." I am not seven, and you are not my father.
- Please do not use abbreviations or acronyms, unless you are 15 and texting your BFF.
- Do use spell check. Never skip this step. Never.
- Please do remember to say please and thank you. You have manners. Please use them.
- And finally, do always reply to an email within 24 hours. If you need more time, for instance, you are not sure how to respond, send a brief reply to acknowledge you received the email and provide a time or date when you will be back in touch. After all, do you like to be left hanging?
Patty currently owns and operates eXPERT Business Support Services. Patty teams up with small business owners and corporate executives who are looking to cut administrative costs and improve their business' efficiency. Her enthusiasm and honest work ethic, together with her 25 years of experience in the corporate world and as an independent contractor, are the foundation and core of eXPERT Business Support Services. Patty loves spending time with her family, surfing, and devoting time to Habitat for Humanity and to her local chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, which aims to protect and preserve our oceans and beaches. Visit http://www.expertsupportsvcs.com and see what an expert can do for you.
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