I received a business letter yesterday. It came through the post in an envelope with a stamp on the front. It was quite a novelty and a reminder to me of how email has overtaken daily business written communication.

So much so that many people starting business careers today would not know how to layout and compose a business letter.

Emails as a means of business communication are full of inherent faults and frustrations caused by bad planning, poor written construction and a failure of the recipient to read beyond the first paragraph.

A few years ago when I was running my daily business radio program, I interviewed a very clever lady who was providing training courses to businesses on how to increase their email effectiveness and I would like to share some of the significant points she made.

• Carefully think about the subject line and how it relates to the person you are sending the email to, either in terms of catching their attention, or providing a good means of being able to find the email in the future

• Always put any questions in the first paragraph and never in the last paragraph. My experience is that if you do leave these to the end, your questions will never be answered

• Never ever send emails in haste, such as when you are angry or annoyed. For therapy, draft the email and review it the next day. Then you will most probably never send it

• And the biggest no, no of all – be careful who you copy in on the email. Do they really need to see it? Be disciplined. There is nothing worse than returning from a holiday break to be confronted by several hundred copy emails that you really don’t need to see.

But aside from spam, what are your email irritations? Do they correspond with my observations, or can you add to the discussion and help lead us to email heaven where we receive short, precise, well written emails, that we really need to see?

- Dennis Rutzou