Establishing a context for your message
When you send an e-mail remember that the form of your message can tell the receiver a
great deal about you. Here are some things to pay attention to in professional e-mails.
Your address. The receiver may well make a judgement about you based on your
email address. An email from firstname.lastname@example.org
may not be taken very seriously! In professional contexts it is better to use an e-mail
name based on your real name from a professional sounding address, such as email@example.com.
Subject line. Every e-mail should have a short informative subject line. Many
people use the subject line to decide whether they will read the message or not. You may
alos use some conventional codes. REQ: tells the receiver you are are making a request and
expect a reply, e.g.:
REQ: visit to your workplace
FYI: tells the receive that you are sending information and do not expect a reply,
FYI: confirming date of visit
Addressing the receiver. It is not strictly necessary to address the receiver as
you would in a letter. But if you are sending a message to someone that you feel is in a
higher position and you know their name, you may want to begin with, for example, 'Dear Mr
Wong' or 'Dear Ms. Lau'. Avoid guessing people's names or gender and avoid using christian
names. If in doubt, leave out the address line altogether.
Your signature. At the end of your message, include a signature which includes
your full name, address, telephone number and e-mail address. This will give the receiver
different options for replying to you and also create a professional impression. Note that
most e-mail programs can insert your signature automatically.