writing a formal or informal e-mail. Some companies have adopted the style of
using very informal salutations, such as addressing customers by ﬁ rst name.
If your company policy is to use informal forms of address, even to outside
customers, you must follow the policy. However, the general rule is to use
traditional salutations. Use your judgment based on your relationship with the
recipient and the rules of your organization. If you address the recipient by ﬁ rst
name in person, it is usually correct to do the same in written communication.
Format the e-mail message the same as you would a letter or memo. Use
appropriate spacing, as shown in Figure 9-8. Adhere to netiquette when
writing both personal and business e-mails. Netiquette, or Internet etiquette, is
a set of guidelines for appropriate behavior on the Internet, including e-mail,
and should always be followed. These rules include the accepted standards
within the organization as well as general standards that apply externally.
When you are sending e-mail as a representative of your business, use
Standard English—correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, and usage—and
the spelling check feature before sending. Remember, you are in a business
environment and your e-mail could be forwarded to others who might make
judgments about what you have written.
Complimentary Close and Signature
E-mails often take the place of routine phone calls and face-to-face
conversations with colleagues and external business associates. Writers often
forego including a closing and formal signature in these kinds of messages.
However, a courteous Thanks or Thank you at the end of the message is usually
appropriate for business correspondence. This is a judgment call for the writer
or a matter of organizational standards.
For e-mails that are used in place of a letter, it is important to include a
complimentary close just as you would in a printed letter. It is standard to
include your full name and contact information at the bottom of the e-mail for
the convenience of the reader.
E-mail programs allow you to set up the signature to be automatically
inserted. In the signature block, include your name, job title, department,
and contact information. It is customary to include the e-mail address in the
signature, since many e-mail–reader programs display the sender’s full name
instead of the e-mail address.
Take care when sending attachments to ensure the recipient can handle
the size and type of ﬁ le. Many e-mail servers have limits on the size of ﬁ les
that can be received. Also, because viruses can be spread through attachments,
you might want to check to make sure the recipient is comfortable receiving
attachments or to notify them that an e-mail you will be sending will contain
an attachment. It is standard practice in business to delete, without reading,
any e-mail that has an attachment unless the attachment is expected.
Respond as quickly as possible to e-mails. Stay with the original topic in
your reply. If you want to bring up a new topic, send a new e-mail and note the
topic in the subject line. Creating a new e-mail with a new subject line makes
it easier to keep the information ﬂ ow understandable. Additionally, it allows
both the sender and recipient of the e-mail to electronically ﬁ le and organize
When you are out of the ofﬁ ce, use the automated reply feature to send a
message stating when you will return. This is a professional courtesy so the
sender knows you are unavailable and not being careless about responding.
Useful E-Mail Features
Use of e-mail can be made more efﬁ cient by taking advantage of the many
convenient features that most systems provide. The following sections discuss
productivity tools common to most e-mail software that help you manage e-mail.
Is the Meeting On?
Jeanine Flanders is the assistant manager of Greenway West, a resort in
Tampa, Florida. Jeanine regularly corresponds with clients who plan to visit
Greenway West for both business and pleasure.
In September, Corey Bingham inquired about holding a meeting at the resort
in December. By mid-October, Mr. Bingham had not responded to the letter and
information packet that Jeanine mailed the day after receiving the inquiry. As of
October 16, the December dates she had discussed with Mr. Bingham were still
open. Jeanine decided to write to Mr. Bingham to encourage him to make his
decision. Here is the message she wrote:
When you called me in September about accommodations for your December
3–7 meeting, I tentatively reserved a block of meeting and residence rooms
for your group. Although you did not ask me to do so, I wanted to make
certain I had rooms for you in case you decided to choose Greenway West for
If you are still thinking about having us host your conference (and I certainly
hope you are), I will need to hear from you by October 25. This is the latest
date on which I can guarantee accommodations for the dates you requested.
Since we last spoke, the resort has added a solarium with an indoor pool plus
a very spacious sauna. I’ve enclosed a colorful brochure to let you see for
yourself. I hope yours is one of the ﬁ rst groups to use these new facilities!
1. Should Jeanine send this message as a letter, memo, or e-mail? Why?
2. Format this message to create a ﬁ nal document. Use your choice of letter,
e-mail, or memo.