What makes an e-mail professional looking
? There is no universal rule or convention - it is not desirable
either, we all have our individual styles and preferences. However,
there is some agreement on desirable qualities of e-mail, some do's
and don'ts, that have emerged over discussion on netiquette. These
are conventions, that e-mail users have found pleasing and good
to have in e-mail communication.
Any e-mail has three distinct components - format, content and style.
I have compiled a collection of desirable qualities in each of these
Format of E-mails - 12 Elements to Watch
- Business e-mails should be personalized, bearing recipient's
name and company/organization. Never send all-purpose, general
type e-mails to your clients - people seldom read such e-mails.
- DON'T TYPE IN ALL CAPS. This is perceived as shouting. Use
emoticons (smileys) when trying to convey a tone of voice :-)
- Limit line length to 65-70 characters across. Otherwise some
e-mail programs will wrap the text at wrong points or not wrap
it at all
- Do not use long sentences, use paragraphs to structure your
- The length of your e-mail should be limited to, ideally, half
the size of A4 paper. Use hyper links (to your sites) liberally
instead of long write-up on company profile, history, management...
!! If you do not have web-site, place such information as appendix
at the end of mail. Many users limit the max size of e-mails to
be received. Large e-mails, in such cases, never reach the recipient.
- Make sure your mail has not only a SUBJECT but is relevant
and as specific as possible (e.g. 'In response to your enquiry
for brass candle stick (July 15)' rather than a vague sounding
- Do you have a signature file ? All e-mail software (Outlook,
Netscape, Eudora etc.) support a signature file that automatically
gets appended to your e-mail. The signature should contain your
contact details like telephone, fax, mailing address, and URL
of your Home Site (if any)
The signature should not only STAND OUT, it should contain an
interesting/attention grabbing phrase. The signature file is a
great tool to advertise your web-site, products etc. Remember,
every time you send an e-mail or someone forwards your message
or you post a message at bulletin board or discussion forum -
your promotional message reaches new audience without any extra
- Never attach file attachments without permission of the recipient.
In this age of countless viruses being carried through attachments,
chances are your e-mail will end-up in trash folder.
- When sending a web site address, always type it in the form
of "http://" because most e-mail programs can identify such format
as web-site URL and convert it into clickable link. Recipients
can reach the web-site just by clicking the link.
- When forwarding messages, put your comments at the top of the
- Do not cram the To or CC: column with e-mail addresses. If
at all you wish to mark CC, make sure all recipients have some
kind of relationship and are relevant in the context. (e.g. addressing
mail to Head Office of a company with CC: to local branch office
- Make sure the Reply To column is correct. It is so frustrating
to receive a mail, which can not be answered !
Happy and Productive Surfing
Dr. Amit K Chatterjee
- Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad
Vol: 5, Issue 8
; September 30' 2004
Dr. Amit K. Chatterjee
(Amit worked in blue-chip Indian and MNCs for 15 years in various
capacities like Research and Information Analysis, Market Development,
MIS, R&D Information Systems etc. before starting his e-commerce
venture in 1997. The views expressed in this columns are of
his own. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org