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Chapter 26. Personal Writing: In Your Wr... > E-Mail: Instant Gratification - Pg. 272

Personal Writing: In Your Write Mind 272 Boot Up First of all, don't be seduced by the seeming informality of the medium: Write all e-mail as you would any important written communication. Follow these steps as you write e-mail: 1. Draft the e-mail.Working offline, write one or more rough drafts. Resist the temptation to toss off a quick note. Once you push that "send" button, you've lost the chance to revise. As with all types of writing, your audience's expectations determine your tone and diction. For example, when using e-mail or real-time communication ("instant messages"), you may be tempted to write informally, overlooking some of the accepted conventions of grammar, usage, spelling, and punctuation. Resist the temptation. If I had a dime for every e-mail that contained a crucial typo, I'd be sitting on a tropical isle right now, enjoying one of those drinks that comes with a little umbrella. Write a subject line.The subject line is a brief description of the message. An effective subject line grabs your reader's attention and summarizes the content of the e-mail. As an added cour- tesy, if your message doesn't require a reply, type FYI (For Your Information) at the beginning of the subject line. And while we're here, if necessary, change the subject line when you reply. Any change in topic requires a change in the subject line. This helps your reader identify your purpose and topic at a glance. Use order of importance.Place the most important facts first. These might include results or recommendations, for example. Busy readers will appreciate your consideration--and you'll get better results. Be brief.Write concise messages and make your point fast. In general, make your sentences and paragraphs shorter than you would in a letter, memo, or other offline communication. In addition, skip lines between paragraphs rather than indenting to make your e-mail easier to 2. 3. 4.