Email Courtesy

I received an ad from a colleague at the beginning of the week pointing out how print speaks to an audience. How true that is – especially from my (a writer’s) point of view.

Writing is more than dotting your I’s or crossing your T’s. Your message must be one that is clear, concise, and gets to the heart. In an email, the subject line needs a compelling message to guarantee that your correspondence will be read. Try an exclamation, or just say hello along with your recipient’s name.

In the body of your email, as discussed before, avoid contractions. Use them only when you know the recipient well, or have at least had more than one email exchange.

Spelling out the words (cannot, do not, will not, etc.) expresses authority, makes a point, and also, commands respect. Contractions express casual correspondence. They are to be used when you feel comfortable with language revealing friendship, or a budding business relationship.

Keep email correspondence concise, and to the point. Everyone should practice this shrewd statement: “Be brief. Be brilliant. Be gone.” ~Anonymous .

In an email, use the same business courtesy that you would in a letter. Please remember to edit your communications. Involve a thesaurus if you must. Using fewer instead of less (less time to get there, fewer emails in the inbox), who instead of that (who= people, that=objects), myriad or an array of instead of a lot of, and remembering to tighten up your sentences (taking out unnecessary words) will make you sound “smarter than the average colleague!”

For more about email correspondence, feel free to contact me at

If your organization needs a speaker or a workshop, please let me know. I am always happy to accommodate.

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