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Jennifer Ranford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
29 March 2012
E-mail Writing Guidelines
Please note and follow the guidelines below concerning the writing of company e-mail messages.
Subjects Give the message a subject/title. E-mail messages without a subject may not be opened because of a fear of viruses and especially note that it is very easy to forget to type this important information.
Subject contents Keep the subject short and clear but avoid such headings as: ‘Good News’, ‘Hello’, ‘Message from Mary’. These headings are common in messages containing viruses. Short but specific headings are needed,
Order No. 2348X Delayed Shipment Laboratory Equipment Order
Greetings Start the message with a greeting so as to help create a friendly but business-like tone. The choice of using the other name versus the surname will depend on who you are writing to. If you have communicated with the receiver previously and he/she is at a similar level to you, then the use of the other name would be appropriate. If the receiver is more senior to you, or if you are in doubt, it would be safer (particularly in the first communication) to use the person’s surname/family name together with a title, e.g. Dear Mr Smithson, Dear Ms Stringer.
It is also becoming quite common to write the greeting without a comma, e.g. Dear Miss Lawson e.g. Dear KK
Purpose Start with a clear indication of what the message is about in the first paragraph. Give full details in the following paragraph(s). Make sure that the final paragraph indicates what should happen next. e.g. I will send a messenger to your office on Tuesday morning to collect the faulty goods. e.g. Please let me have your order by the beginning of the month.
Action Any action that you want the reader to do should be clearly described, using politeness phrases. Subordinates should use expressions such as 'Could you...' or ' I would be grateful if...'. Superior staff should also use polite phrases, for example, 'Please...'.
Attachments Make sure you refer, in the main message, to any attachments you are adding and of course make extra sure that you remember to include the attachment(s). As attachments can transmit viruses, try not to use them, unless you are sending complicated documents. Copy-and-paste text-only contents into the body of the e-mail. If you use an attachment, make sure the file name describes the content, and is not too general; e.g. 'message.doc' is bad, but 'QA Report 2012.doc' is good.
Endings End the message in a polite way. Common endings are: Yours sincerely, Best regards, Best wishes, Regards, If you did not put a comma after the greeting at the beginning of the message, then do not put a comma after the ending either, e.g. Best wishes e.g. Regards
Names Include your name at the end of the message. It is most annoying to receive an email which does not include the name of the sender. The problem is that often the email address of the sender does not indicate exactly who it is from, e.g. email@example.com
Please follow these guidelines with all e-mail messages that you send.