• Start your emails with a courteous greeting, anything from
“Dear Ms. XX” to “Hi XX”. Don’t omit the greeting, use a name alone, or misspell a name, as all of these might be
viewed as offensive by some recipients.
• Consider diverse naming conventions. US-Americans and select
others usually give their names in the order of first-last. Some in Europe and Latin America use last-first, as do many Asians. Chinese names
are commonly given last-first if a person uses their Chinese name, first-last if they adopted an English first name.
provides country-specific information about these conventions.
• Use first names only if you and the recipient previously
established this. Members of most cultures consider it inappropriate if you force them to move to first names, which they might otherwise do
with close friends only.
• Unless your recipients are US-Americans, who commonly prefer
getting straight to the point, start with some "small talk." This is particularly helpful when communicating with members of strongly
relationship-oriented cultures, among them most Latin Americans and Asians. For example, tell them how your weekend was and ask about theirs.
Alternatively, close with a similar statement or maybe something like "Hope you'll have a great Easter break!" Doing so almost always helps in
building stronger bonds and motivating others to collaborate with you.
• Do not write in CAPITALS, which some take as the equivalent
of yelling, or mark your text in bright colors, to which several cultures attribute special meanings.
• Carefully consider which level of formality would be most
appropriate. This can be hard, as individual familiarity, cultural preferences, hierarchical differences, and a number of other factors all
impact what is considered "right." If in doubt: too much is better than too little.
• Always end your emails with "Thank you," "Sincerely," "Best
regards, " "Talk to you soon," "Cheers" - something that sounds friendly and positive.
• Do not sign emails with your first name only, unless you are
already on first-name basis with the person(s) you are sending them to.