1. Keep the length of the message short
Shorter email messages are more likely to be completely read than long messages. If a longer message is necessary, consider attaching a file with that longer message. One rule of thumb is the Gettysburg Criterion, which holds that the body of an email should have fewer words than the Gettysburg Address.
2. Make sure that attachments can be read by the recipient
Attachments that are too large may not be accepted by the recipient's system. Also, the format of the attachment should be one that the recipient can read.
3. Keep unsolicited mail to a minimum
Think twice before you send a personal email to someone who does not expect it. If you do, try to send a message that the recipient would find useful.
4. Use a clear and descriptive subject line
Typically, most email users see only the address of the sender and the subject line of incoming email. That subject line may be the difference between an email that is read and one that is discarded.
5. Use appropriate spelling and grammar
The alternative is to create email that creates a negative impression of the writer or the writer's organization.
6. Keep the number of recipients as low as practical
Emails with a long list of recipients in the To: or Cc: fields may not be seen as urgent as emails directly addressed to an individual. This is especially important when using email in the workplace.
7. Respect the privacy of email addresses
When sending emails to multiple recipients, do not put in an email address in the To: or Cc: field if one or more recipients have no need to know that address. If you are sending an email to multiple recipients and you don't want the recipients to see any other address, then put the list of addresses in the Bcc: field.
8. Assume that your email will be forwarded on to someone you do not know
Anyone who receives an email from you may forward that email to others, usually without your knowledge. If the contents of an email would cause you embarrassment if it fell into the wrong hands, consider not sending the email in the first place.
9. Make sure the recipient can identify you
When you are sending email to someone you don't know or don't know well, make sure that the recipient can figure our who you are, how you found out about the recipient, what your want from the recipient, and why that recipient should respond to your email. You should compose the subject line and the first sentence of the email so that these questions are answered. Otherwise, your email may be quickly deleted.
10. Use plain text for the body of an email
While some email software allows recipients to view email formatted with HTML or other formatting codes, not every program has that option available, and if it is available it may not be activated by the recipient. On the other hand, a plain text email can be read by even the simplest of email programs.
Advice for Using Email Attachments
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An attachment is a file that is sent as part of an email message. You should teach your child to take the following precautions when sending attachments:
Send an attachment only if necessary:
If a plain text message will do, your child should not send an attachment.
Send only to those who need it:
If your child is not sure whether the recipient needs the file, have your child ask the recipient if he or she wants it.
Send only to those who are expecting it:
Teach your child to avoid sending attachments when the recipient is not expecting one. Your child should first get permission from the recipient.
Make sure the recipient can open the attachment:
Only send an attachment if you know the recipient has a program that can open the file.
Send the smallest file possible:
Many ISPs have a limit on the size of an email attachment. Most should accept files smaller than one megabyte.