Have you ever received an e-mail message saying something like this:

“I need the first quarter sales reports”

or have you sent such a message? There’s no greeting, no thank you, no signature, nothing to make the message look professional.

There are many people who use e-mail a some sort of instant-messaging system. They think they can dispense with basic communication principles by using a couple of smilies and an “lol”.

Like any form of communication, the business e-mail you send tells the recipient a great deal about you. The old “first impression” adage applies to email just a much as a face-to-face meeting. If you are inconsiderate in your email, that’s what people will remember about you. If you approach e-mail with professional business attutude, that’s how the reader will see you.

Every email you send should contain three basic elements:

  • A Greeting – Even if it’s as simple as “Hi”, you start off your message with a positive tone. Mobile e-mail users might use a shorter greeting to save key strokes, while desktop users have opportunity to add a name to the greeting.
  • Courtesy – If you require something from the recipient, ask politely. Learn the word please. Ask for the information; don’t demand.
  • A Signature – Always end with a “Thank You” or “Sincerely”, then your name and business name. This is quite simple. Every e-mail client —whether desktop or mobile— has the option to set an automatic signature. Take a moment to configure that setting and every message you send will have a closing without having to type anything extra.

You don’t know what benefit may come from your next e-mail message. Make sure it is conveying the best impression of you.

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