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Improve your e-mail etiquette

March 06, 2006

Framing an official e-mail is part and parcel of almost every job profile today.

Yet, many of us make basic mistakes.

Are there any rules to keep in mind when zipping across an e-mail to a client, senior or a prospective employer?

Here is what BPO training expert Nasha Fitter recommends: Using SMS slang when you write is unacceptable. Even when you write casual e-mails, I suggest you discontinue the use of words like 'bcoz' instead of because and 'u r' instead of you're. Take time to think about and customise each e-mail you write. That will help you in your job.

Nasha is the CEO of Fitter Solutions, a communication and training company. She is an expert in vocational and communication skills management for BPO and service-based organisations and conducts private classes for individuals. She is deeply involved with the upliftment and development of rural youth through basic education, vocational training and entrepreneurship, and writes for a variety of publications. She has a degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.

In an interview, the interviewer asked me to tell him about my goal and I told him that "I want to attain the stage of self-actualisation." But the problem came when he asked me to explain it.  I know what it means but don't know how to define it? In my every call-centre interview I was asked a question that why do u wanna join call center.  And I had no idea to say anything 'coz money and night-work is the thing I'm lured by this industry. An another question that what to tell them in my weakness as I don't know myself. Please help!!!

-- Deepak Rana

While attaining the stage of 'self-actualisation' is a wonderful goal (and one that we should all hopefully have), it is not one you should bring up in an interview. Stick to your professional goals; those are what your interviewer is interested in. Also, never bring anything up in an interview you cannot sufficiently explain and give examples for.
Second, I would hope you would not waste years of your life -- especially in the early years of your career -- in an industry without knowing why you are part of it. Think about what skills you would gain from working in a call centre. For example, you may gain communication skills, learn how to interact with global customers and even just get to be a part of a professional organisation. 
I also cannot tell you what your weaknesses are but I am sure if you think hard enough or ask your friends and family you will be able to come up with a few. Remember to make your weaknesses the flip side of your strengths. For example, if a strength you possess is that you are friendly and a people-person, your weakness could be that you are overly trusting.   
It is really important that you take time to prepare for your interviews. Sit and think through these important questions.  

I have completed my SSC with Telugu medium. And I have joined intermediate in the same language. In degree I have changed my language ie I have taken English medium (Bcom).

Subject-wise I have good knowledge and successfully I have completed my Commerce graduation. A few years back I have joined in a private firm as an administrative executive. I have noticed that I am very poor in grammer n making sentense writing etc, slowly i am improving but still i don't have 100% confident that i can write / pronounce without grammer  mistakes.

Soo i am planning to go for a such training classes to improve my english... And can i apply for BPO jobs. bcoz i am getting offers but only for this reason iam unable to attend the interview.. Please go through my problem n give me suitable

-- MahaLakshmi

Yes, after reading your e-mail I highly suggest you take a course to improve your grammar. Every sentence in your e-mail is grammatically incorrect. Also, spelling seems to be a big issue. 

Using SMS slang when you write is really unacceptable and I suggest you discontinue the use of words like 'bcoz' and words like 'u r' instead of 'you're' even when you write casual e-mails. 

I suggest you read English newspapers, magazines and books for at least an hour per day to dramatically change your English skills.   
Spend time noticing your e-mail etiquette. You wrote me an e-mail where you started with 'Dear Mam / Sir'. But you KNOW I am a 'ma'am' (by the way you also spelled ma'am wrong) so why would you state the 'sir' part? Take time to think about and customise each email you write. That will help you in your job.

Do you have a question for Nasha? Write to us


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  • Share your comments

     What do you think about the story?

    Read what others have to say:

    Number of User Comments: 5

    Sub: Send Me Top 10 Tips For Writing Professional Emails.

    Hi, Could you please send some tips for writing professional emails (specifically for US/UK clients). Thank You Amin J. Ismaili

    Posted by Amin Ismaili

    Sub: Where are the ettiquettes?

    didnt understand the co-relation between the heading and the information given.

    Posted by Swapnil

    Sub: etiquette

    dear natasha, is it a part of e- mail etiquette not to send too long messages? what exactly makes the e-mail messages different from the ...

    Posted by Bharat Bhooshan

    Sub: Email Etiquette

    The caption was titled email etiquette, quite amazed to see a quick turn towards call centers. Can one explain the co-relation???

    Posted by Dhiraj

    Sub: improve your e-mail etiquette as i am from a bengali.

    as i am from a bengali medium background , i always face problems to speak and write both.. i sincerely read story books , magazines ...

    Posted by nandira bhowmik


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