Ever have your emails ignored? If so, it’s probably not because you’re a particularly odious person. More likely, it’s because people are very busy. They read what they think is important and ignore what they think is not. If you want to have your writing noticed (for the right reasons), there are certain rules to abide by.

  1. Have a relevant, informative subject line
    • If you’re at work and a co-worker sends you an email with a subject line of “Re:” or “hey,” how likely are you to open it and read it? But what if you got an email with a subject line of “Manager requests feedback on today’s meeting”? Yeah, you’ll definitely open that one.
  2. Use a proper salutation
    • A proper business salutation is not “Hey, yo” or “WHASSSSSUPPPPP???” Rather, you should address someone by their name, followed by a comma or colon, as in the following examples:



      Mr. Smith,

      Finance Dept.:

      In business writing, “Dear” is not generally used if you’re writing to someone within your organization, but it is standard for correspondence with other companies. This is especially true if it’s the first time you’ve written them.
  3. Be CLEAR
    • Nothing is more frustrating than taking the time to read a business email, only to discover it would take an experienced Egyptologist to decipher the hidden meaning in the message:

      hi carol just need to check see if the jones file that sam sent us all is in par at jims specs or if it needs more info from u or me or that one other dept, if so call me thanks mike

      The correct response to such a mess is “Huh?” after which, the offending message will probably be deleted (or saved in a file titled “amusement”).
    • Consider this revision:


      Could you please check to see if the Jones file meets the specs that Jim outlined earlier? If not, let me know ASAP. We may need to provide him with more info.


This is just the beginning. Check out Part 2. And to make sure your emails are written correctly, contact an editing pro at Proof-Reading.com.