1. Send To The Right Person
Make absolutely sure, you are sending it to the right person. It is unfortunately too easy, to send an email to the wrong point. A small mistake in sending to wrong person could cost you your job or a relationship. see: Email disasters
2. Don’t Use Autofill.
Autofill is when you start typing in a name and your email client automatically fills the name in for you. However, there is real potential for disaster. Imagine you are writing to tim_your_boyfriend and autofil fills in tim_your_miserable_boss. – It could be very painful.
3. Do You Really Want to Reply To All?
A good email client should always ask people, do you really want to send this personal message to your boss to every 200 employers on this mailing list? However, they don’t and because of a careless mistake, you have broadcast your thoughts to 200 people, when it was intended for one. Needless to say, this can be very embarrassing for all concerned. Always stop and think – Who am I sending it to.
4. Keep It Polite.
Email is a very impersonal method of communication. It is easy to be misunderstood. Whatever you do try to be polite and avoid making sarcastic comments.
5. For Difficult Situations Don’t use Email.
If there is a very awkward situation, ask yourself whether you could find a better mechanism for dealing with the issue. Speaking to people face to face, helps to avoid misunderstanding.
6. Treat Email Like A Postcard
Email is Not Secure. The contents of email can be easily hacked into. When writing an email, think of it like a postcard, you don’t know who might be reading it so you will keep very sensitive information to other more secure methods of communication.
7. Keep it Short.
Emails should be kept brief and to the point. Make sure you don’t wander off topic adding unnecessary emotion. Keep to a specific subject; if you have several issues try sending different emails, or at the very least try to break it up.
8. Turn off Auto Alert.
It is best to check email a couple of times a day. You don’t need to be alerted every time an email comes, it will just distract you from your task. Check emails when you have time and space to respond properly, rather than rushing off a response.
9. Delay Sending.
For any message that is potentially contentious, wait a few hours before sending; it is sometimes good to wait overnight. You will not regret waiting to review the message. But, you will regret sending a message written in anger / an emotional state.
10. Give Proper Title to email
This makes it easier to keep track and note whether the email is worth reading.
11. Delete old message in emails and be Careful in CCing messages.
If you are replying to a message, clear out the quoted stuff at the bottom, unless relevant. Be careful, if you reply to someone and cc someone else. The quoted message at the bottom of the email may not be appropriate. Also be wary of sending an email to someone who is likely to forward or cc that message to an inappropriate person.
12. Keep Your Inbox Clear.
Use folders and move messages to the appropriate folder. Thing is your inbox should be messages that require some action on your part. At appropriate times either respond to the email or move it to the relevant folder.
13. Keep Work and Business Separate
It can be good to have separate email adresses for work and social. At weekends you might like to check messages from friends without seeing some work email which would be better leaving until Monday morning.
14. Use A Professional Signature
A professional signature at the bottom of your email helps your message appear more authorative.
15. Use Good English.
If you keep emails short and to the point, then it will not be inconvenient to write in proper English with good spelling and punctuation. If you don’t have time to use a spell checker and write in good English, you are probably writing too many emails.
Books on Writing Emails