subject: re/ fwd

You know how you reply to some emails right away while others suffer in the inbox long enough to be pushed into another page? For all its popularity since the first email was sent, most people haven’t mastered the art of the perfect email yet. This is a pursuit toward that elusive goal.

In an age of LOLs and TTYL, its more than likely that most of us compose an email without putting too much thought into it. Because we’re so into the emoticons and abbreviations, our emails usually get filled with Wassup? or TC. Now, this is all fine if you’re sending personal emails to friends and family. The same does not apply when you are writing a formal one to a possible client, a sponsor or to your boss. Official emails, although less formal than letters, are still very different from casual emails. Your email can tell a lot about you, so be very careful.

coolmyan@xyz.com: Using the same email address you’ve had since the 8th grade is a big NO when it comes to official work. It doesn’t take much time or effort to make a new one with your name or initials on Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo. Having an e-mail ID with words like hot, cool, girl, boy make you sound immature. Show them you mean business right from your choice of email ID.

What’s your email about: According to the HR and Recruitment Department at Subidha Sewa, a local job search portal that gets numerous emails with resumes every day, most applicants forget to mentor the subject. When they do, it’s mostly quite vague. Make sure you write a short but precise line in the subject field. Also, be careful not to use words like URGENT. This might route your email to the spam folder.

What to send – what not to send: Keep your emails short and sweet. All UPPERCASE makes it look like you are shouting and all lowercase makes it look like you’re texting. Use sentence case and use simple words. Never send valuable information like PIN numbers, and ATM pass codes. Also, chain emails are not cool anymore – avoid it like a plague.

Inside Story: According to journalist Saurav Dhakal of StoryCycle, a formal email should contain – a proper opening salutation, introduction or reference, the reason for writing the email, a closing line and thanks. Greetings or salutations depend on how well you know the recipient. Start with Dear or Hello, moving on to perhaps a Hi if the nature of your relation gets more casual. Also always address the person in personal terms. You can then close the email with ‘Regards’ and your contact information.

Reply all or not: Always check whether you’ve clicked on the reply all or not options. Usually, reply all is the default function for emails. So when replying to one, you might be sending it to everyone on the mailing list. Know the differences between the cc: (carbon copy), and bcc: (blind carbon copy). Bcc: recipients aren’t seen by other recipients.

PFA: When sending attachments on email, inform the recipient. Avoid sending large attachments. Instead compress the file or use a utility like Dropbox. Always name the attached files properly.

Check error: Before clicking on the send button, scan your email for typos and grammatical errors. Forgeting to attach the attachments, a wrong salutation and incorrect recipient are common mistakes. Avoid looking stupid. Most people are careless while composing and sending emails. A little casualness might be considerable, too much might cost you your job. A proper email helps one get on the right side of the recipient. Like everything else, the perfect e-mail is a skill, one that you can perfect as you work on it with each one sent.

Inbox: Quick e-mail facts

• Be Mr Polite in your e-mails. Always use Please and Thank You.

• Prompt replies are best. If you can’t, at least replying within 24 hours is the norm.

• The shorter the email, the higher the chances of getting a quick reply!

• Always use different e-mail addresses for personal and official purposes.

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