Our company offers a loose “email rubric” that details what makes an email (either internal or external) successful.
A few of the major points include:
- Always include both a greeting and a signature with your name and contact information.
- Always include a subject line with a brief description of the email’s content or goal. This makes it easier to find when wading through the inbox.
- Keep all emails relevant to a specific topic in one thread, and keep all your thoughts in one email at a time. Respond completely and in order prevents any straggling responses or forgotten tidbits.
- When including attachments, make sure to add a date and (if appropriate) version number to the end of its title. Also be sure to acknowledge the attachment exists, and explain each one’s purpose—that way your attachments won’t get overlooked or misfiled.
- Keep each line or paragraph of text separated with its own topic. If you find your paragraph meandering into different topics—split it up!
- If you can use bullet points or a numbered list to articulate your thoughts—USE THEM!
- Spell check. For the love of God! Spell check!
- Save the emoticons for people you are familiar with. This should be common practice, but with more and more Millennials entering the corporate world, it’s important to mention.
- Emails offer you the ability to truly think about what you want to say. Make sure you are concise and specific about your thoughts and ideas.
We’ve found the guidance helps in several areas:
- Improved quality of communications leads to a much stronger first impression of our company.
- Time savings mount as staff doesn’t waste as much time trying to figure out how to write a specific type of email.
- Employee confidence improves as indecision diminishes and communication quality improves
- It even lends itself to a kind of brand recognition, with reliably organized emails going to our clients every time.
By following these rules, you can help keep your company’s email conventions running smoothly–preventing miscommunications, lost emails and attachments, and confusion on wording or format.