GBC Learning has published a guide to Email Best Practice. Here are a few extracts. The guide is available free from www.gbclearning.co.uk .
Subject Line. This is the most important part of the email and probably the most misused. It’s important because:
a. It allows the recipient to guage the priority of the message when it first arrives.
b. It helps you find old messages that you want to retrieve.
DO: * write the subject line after you’ve writtten the email
* make sure it is concise
* indicate after the subject what the recipient needs to do eg. Action, Query, Respond.
* when redponding change the subject line to reflect the up-to-date position.
DONT: * use a vague or misleading subject line
*include a salutation in the subject.
*use flippant language in the subject line.
Wherever possible keep the whole communication within the body of an email. Avoid attachments wherever you can. If you do attach something, summarise it so the recipient can choose whether to open it.
Protect email addresses – use BCC rather than CC.
Don’t send jokes, rude or potentially embarrassing messages at work.
Beware of hoax emails – if in doubt, throw them out!
Spell check before you send.