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GIW Online: Using E-Mail

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Tips for Using E-Mail

  • Remember that e-mail--especially business e-mail--is not private; your employer has the right to read your messages, and anyone with whom you correspond can easily forward your message to others.
  • Subject lines in e-mail are very important since the reader can at first see only the subject line and not the text.  Be specific, succinct, and informative.
  • While e-mail is less formal than letters, all conventions of good writing still apply. Use correct grammar and mechanics, including punctuation and appropriate capital letters.
  • Except to emphasize a word or two, avoid using full caps, as doing so is the electronic equivalent to shouting.
  • Put the readerís name at the beginning of the message to provide a friendly tone.
  • Complimentary closes (such as "sincerely" or "very truly yours") are not necessary in an e-mail message, but do close with your name since some e-mail programs automatically delete the header on screen.
  • Since e-mail strips formatting (bullets, underlining, italics, indention, etc.) unless the recipient is accepting his or her e-mail in HTML format, use vertical spacing for visual appeal.
  • When responding to a message, delete the original message except the part to which you are responding, and put your response above the original text.

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