short paragraphs, consider (a) reduc-
ing the message, or (b) providing an
attachment. But in any case, don't
snap, growl, or bark.
7. Remember to say "please" and
"thank you." And mean it. "Thank you
for understanding why afternoon
breaks have been eliminated" is not
8. Add a signature block with appro-
priate contact information. In most
cases, this means your name, busi-
ness address, and phone number,
along with a legal disclaimer if required
by your company. Do you need to
clutter the signature block with a clever
quotation and artwork? Probably not.
9. Edit and proofread before hitting
"send." If your messages look like
excerpts from a ten-year-old's chat
room, don't be surprised if they're
forwarded with a chortle to people
you've never met.
10. Finally, reply promptly to serious
messages. If you need more than 24
hours to collect information or make a
decision, send a brief response ex-
plaining the delay.
**A great opportunity to practice this is
every day emails with friends, family
By Richard Nordquist, About.com
Email is the most common form of
written communication in the busi-
ness world--and the most commonly
abused. Too often email messages
snap, growl, and bark--as if being
concise meant that you had to sound
bossy. Not so.
Consider this email message
recently sent to all staff members on
a large university campus:
It is time to renew your faculty/staff
parking decals. New decals are re-
quired by Nov. 1, 2008. Parking
Rules and Regulations require that
all vehicles driven on campus must
display the current decal.
Placing a "Hi!" in front of this mes-
sage doesn't solve the problem. It
only adds an air of giddiness.
Instead, consider how much nicer
and shorter and probably more effec-
tive the e-mail would be if we simply
added a "please" and addressed the
Please renew your faculty/staff park-
ing decals by November 1.
Of course, if the author of the e-mail
had truly been keeping