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Writing

Writing Skills

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What are the do’s and don’ts of e-mail writing?

Do:

  • include a meaningful subject line
  • use short paragraphs, headings, and bullets
  • offer clear next steps
  • use proper grammar, spelling, capitalization, & punctuation
  • spell check & proofread
  • send e-mail only to those who really need to receive it (avoid information overload)
  • check your e-mail tone

Don’t:

  • give negative feedback in an e-mail
  • ignore the chain of command by e-mailing your boss’ boss if inappropriate
  • curse or use vulgar language
  • send gossipy e-mails, cutesy visuals, or chain letters

What is the standard length of an e-mail?

It varies. Most e-mails should be approximately one screen at the most. Also, keep your paragraphs very short.

Should I use bold or italics in my emails or memos?

It’s fine to use bold and italics in emails and memos as long as you do not overuse them.

How do I organize a negative letter or email?

A format that works well is:

  • message
  • background
  • expand message
  • end quickly

To soften your tone, use:

  • more passive verbs
  • fewer personal pronouns

How do I organize a proposal?

Here’s a format that many of our clients like and use:

  • subject
  • table of contents
  • background
  • benefits
  • specific action
  • administration
  • investment
  • next steps
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