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Email Don’ts, Improve Your Communication

I felt I should follow on from my ‘Email Do’s‘ post and share with you some ‘Email Don’ts’.

  • Send emails without a subject {pet peeve} – make the subject line summarise the body of the e-mail. Ask yourself, ‘will the recipient(s) know what this e-mail is about?’
  • Overuse the cc: field – if you are named in the To field you are expected to take action. If you are named in the Cc field the email is for information only. Only copy others in if it is necessary and important to them.
  • Never use email to discuss confidential information  – sending an email is like sending a post card. It may end up being read by someone who should not be privy to the information. If you wouldn’t say it in an open forum, don’t email it.
  • Avoid turning your email into a short story – reading a sentence on the monitor is much harder than reading on paper. Make your point fast and use dot points where necessary.
  • Don’t make your email gender specific – if you are not sure who will be reading your email, try and keep it gender neutral.
  • Avoid the use of SMS type abbreviations (pls, r u, LOL) etc – this is fine for using on a mobile phone SMS message between friends, but not in a professional business communication.
  • Forward or copy a message or attachment without permission from the sender – it’s courtesy to ask for approval from the sender prior to forwarding any information.
  • Use words like urgent or important unless they are warranted – the more often you use these words the less impact they will have.  Think about the story of the boy who cried wolf, that could happen to you.
  • Write sentences in capital letters (UPPERCASE) or overdo punctuation!!!!!! – it’s considered by many to be very rude. If you must use UPPERCASE, use it very sparingly and only to emphasise a particularly important point. Please understand that, IF YOU WRITE IN CAPITALS YOU ARE SHOUTING.
  • Use “reply to all” unless it is critical for all to see your reply – only use this option if there is a specific reason that someone else must see your reply.
  • Don’t forward hoaxes, chain letters or jokes – it’s not productive or professional.
  • Don’t reply to spam – doing so will only confirm your address is “live” and will increase the amount of unwanted emails you will receive.

eCourse Implementation Specialist, Hong Kong

If you’re overwhelmed, struggling to get things done, or recognise you need some assistance, organise a call with me to discuss your business support needs.

Written by: Nicole Graham


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Established in 2007, Bauhinia Solutions is a boutique virtual business support agency with a team of dedicated and experienced business specialists, administrators, and virtual assistants.