Communication is the backbone of business and official communication. It is the crucial channel through which information is passed between two parties in either written or digital format. The many forms of communication can be letters, memos, e-mail messages, text messages, voice mails, fax messages and notes. With the advancement in technology, the tools and means of communication in business have also seen tremendous changes. From letter exchange to e-correspondence, the face of correspondence has evolved tremendously in the business world. 

What is e-Correspondence?

Business executives write a large number of letters daily. These letters comprise of business enquiries, complaints, purchase orders, money orders, etc. They also need to correspond with other businesses to maintain good relations. e-Correspondence is an effective and hassle-free mode of sending and receiving all these kinds of communications using e-mails. The full form of e-correspondence is electronic correspondence since the flow of communication happens through electronic exchange.

Features of e-Correspondence

e-Correspondence has many useful features which businesses can utilize for a less time-consuming and cost-effective method of correspondence:

  • One can send copies of a message to more than one person at a time

  • There is a facility for auto-reply in case the receiver cannot reply to messages within the stipulated time

  • Messages can be re-directed and auto-forwarded to others

  • One can store multiple addresses in an address book which can be instantly retrieved

  • One gets to know if a message was delivered or not through notifications

  • One can attach signatures to their emails

  • One can also send files, sound, graphics in a compressed format via e-correspondence

  • Automatic date and time stamp on each email are available

  • If you are on the move, mobile email or web email can still be accessed and one can respond promptly

  • One can integrate calendars and appointments with e-correspondence systems

  • It has searching capabilities to look for an email using its subject, body text, etc.

  • Conversations can be arranged in different folders for ease of access

  • One can set automatic rules for sending emails to different folders or destination

Benefits of e-Correspondence

The e-correspondence medium has become the soul of today’s business world owing to its gamut of advantages over other communication modes. Despite so many methods of information sharing like phones or postal mails, emails stand out as the most popular means. e-Correspondence started as a simple means of communication but is now something no business can do without.

Listed below are some of its most useful features:

  • It is a cost-effective way to contact all over the world

  • One can reach out to more than one person at a time with emails

  • With e-correspondence, all interactions are documented and can be used as an evidence

  • You can leave messages for people at any time of the day without having to bother them

Main Components of an Effective e-Correspondence

Business professionals open their emails daily to decide and take action on something, answer a question, set up a face-to-face meeting, review a draft, etc. The emails tell them what needs to be done. Hence the format of an email is essential in making it an effective mode of communication. Important parts of an email include:

  • Subject Lines - Just like newspaper headlines, the email subject line tells the reader the main point of the email. It should be as specific as possible. One-word subjects are not informative and do not convey the importance of your message to the recipient. For time-sensitive messages, one must include the date in the subject line like “Meeting on 2nd December at 5 PM”. 

  • Greetings and Sign-offs - An email must begin by greeting an individual or group of people it addresses. One must not begin with the body of the message right away. It also should have a proper and polite sign-off. In case, you're not familiar with the person, the best practice is to address them formally, for example, “Dear Professor Sharma, “Hello Ms Mathur, etc.

  • If you're not familiar with the name of the person, some of the ways to address them could be “To whomsoever it may concern”, “Hello everyone”, etc.

  • A good closing is very necessary since it allows the reader to know who is contacting them. Ensure to sign off with your name at the end and if your reader does not know you well then you should include your designation and organization name you belong to. Closing must begin with any of the following words: “Thank you”, “Best wishes”, Regards” or something on similar lines.

  • CC and BCC: CC is for “Carbon Copy” and Bcc is for “Blind Carbon Copy”. CC is useful when you want to convey the same message for more than one individual. BCC is beneficial when you want to send the message to a group of individuals but do not want them to know whom all the message is being sent to.

An example of a good business email is shown in the image below:

[Image to be added Soon]

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What are the Characteristics of a Good e-Correspondence?

Ans: A good email should be:

  • Simple - A business email should be lucid and clear to understand

  • Conversational - A right email must feel like someone is talking face-to-face. It should be in a conversational style and interactive.

  • Clear in its Goal - Writer must have all the facts and figures of the message handy. It should be easy to find the goals of an email easily.

  • Image-Oriented - Business letters reflect an organization’s image; hence its language must keep the public image in mind. The email should be written in a manner that enhances the goodwill of the company.

  • Courteous - One must seek a favour politely and express gratitude profusely in their emails. This makes the language of the email appealing to the reader.

  • Sincere - A business letter must not hide any facts or reality and sound genuine to the reader.

Q2. When it is not Appropriate to use Email as a Form of Correspondence?

Ans: Emails should not be used in a few cases like stated below:

  • What you want to convey is complicated, long and might require additional discussions. For example, when you are seeking your supervisor’s feedback for your work. In such cases, a face-to-face meeting is best suited.

  • When you need to share confidential information since emails are not private. They are going over the internet and someone can misuse the email by forwarding it to others without your knowledge.

  • You are sending an emotionally charged message which can be misconstrued. If something is difficult to convey on the face of someone, it should never be sent over an email.

Q3. Give a brief History of Email Invention?

Ans:  What looked like the first version of the modern-day email was invented at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in 1965. It was part of the university's compatible time-sharing system where students and teachers shared files and messages on a central disk and logged in from different remote terminals. Though the first email standard was formulated in 1973 at Darpa. Its final version came out in 1977. It included things like to and from fields and forwarding emails. The first head of state to send an email was Queen Elizabeth II. Microsoft mails arrived in 1988 which at that point allowed Apple’s AppleTalk network users to exchange messages with each other. CompuServe was the first company to provide internet service via dial-up connections. It came in 1989 with its proprietary email service that allowed users to send emails over the internet.