Your email behavior is important. Whether you are writing an email for personal or professional use, you need to follow basic email etiquette. A poorly-written or inappropriate email has the power to sabotage your reputation with employers, colleagues, or even friends and family. Most of your communication in the medical transcription/healthcare documentation world will rely heavily on email, so pay attention to the tips below and allow your professional side to shine through!
Make sure your address portrays a professional tone. Don’t use an email that is childish, cute or suggestive to send work-related emails. Choose your email address carefully, as it can determine how you are perceived by others. Generally, some version of your first and last name is the best choice as it identifies you. Your internet provider should be able to provide you with an additional email address to use or you can use a free email service such as Gmail to create one.
The subject line is one of the most important parts of your email, especially when you are sending a professional email (to a potential employer, client, etc). The best subject line is to the point and fairly short (6-8 words). Don’t send an email with a blank subject line and make sure the field accurately reflects the content of your message. Some email programs will automatically mark your mail as spam if a subject is missing and some email readers will not open email that does not have a subject. If you are applying for a job, it is best to include your name and the desired position in the subject line.
Remember to never use an old email to hit reply and start typing about an entirely new topic. Draft a new email with a relevant subject line.
Mind Your Manners
Remember hearing this as a child? Well, we have to remember this when writing emails as well. Always include a courteous greeting and closing. Remember to say please and thank you. If you are writing to someone you don’t know for the first time, you should use Mr. Mrs., Ms, Dr. etc. and their last name, not just their first name. Please remember to check and double check the spelling of the recipient’s name. You want to make a good impression and incorrect spelling of someone’s name isn’t the way to go about this. For a closing, end your emails with something like: Thank you, Sincerely, Best regards, Have a good day, etc.
Wait To Fill In the “TO” Email Address
Career advisers suggest not to fill in the “to” email address until your email is complete, attachments have been added and your email has been proofed and edited. That way you won’t make the mistake of accidentally sending an email that isn’t quite ready.
Watch Your Tone
It is often quite difficult to express tone in writing. Read your email out loud to ensure it has the tone you desire. You want to always come across as friendly, approachable and respectful, but not demanding or abrupt. Using “please” and “thank you” goes a long way in reflecting a positive tone. If your email is emotionally charged, walk away from the computer and wait to write your reply. Review the sender’s email again to make sure you aren’t reading something in the email that isn’t there. Try not to make assumptions when it comes to email. Always ask for clarification before reacting.
Stay away from the use of abbreviations and slang and don’t use emoticons. Use proper sentence structure, capitalize the first letter of each sentence, don’t write in all caps or all lower case as this can be read as showing laziness or a lack of education. Treat your email with the same amount of care that you use for typing a medical report. Remember to spell check and proofread every email before sending. If you don’t portray a professional appearance you may not be taken seriously. Keep emails brief and to the point.
Stay with Simple Formatting
Use plain text email, staying away from fancy background stationery and different colored fonts.
Ask Before You Attach
Many people don’t open email attachments. Get permission from the recipient before attaching a file to your message. Some would rather you copy and paste into the body of the email instead of sending an attachment.
Double Check Before You Send
Include the address in the “to” field for the person you’d like a response from. Use the “cc” field for those you are sending the email to for their info only. Don’t use a return receipt on every email. Some consider this annoying and intrusive.
Remember the efforts you make will indicate what is important to you. Taking the time to use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation helps indicate that you are a courteous and educated person.
You may want to make this your email motto: Type unto others as you would have them type unto you!