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E-mail Etiquette

A short e-mail to express thanks may not have the same desired effect as a handwritten note. However, if you’re out of postage stamps and need to send out a quick message, you may find useful this etiquette primer from

1. Use proper spelling, grammar and punctuation. Anything less offers a less-than-professional impression of your company.

2. Don’t attach unnecessary files. Large attachments annoy customers, because they can bring down their e-mail systems.

3. Don’t write in CAPITALS. In cyberspace, it’s interpreted as shouting.

4. Take care with abbreviations and emoticons. When writing for business, try not to use shorthand like BTW (by the way) or LOL (laugh out loud), or even the smiley :-). The recipient may not understand the meaning.

5. Use active instead of passive verb voice. For example, “Thank you so much for spending your time at our open house this morning” is much more personal than “A word of thanks is extended for your time.”

6. Avoid long sentences. Keep a sentence to 15 to 20 words. E-mail is meant to be a swifter communication tool than the handwritten letter.

7. And most important, read the e-mail before sending it. You may catch spelling or grammatical errors. Re-reading also helps you avoid misunderstandings or inappropriate comments.