Email Etiquette

Email Etiquette

Email Etiquette

PUBLISH DATE 23rd April 2020

While we try and work faster and more efficiently, we must not forget the social rules that accompany any sort of communication. We are used to sending out short texts to associates or even shorter ones to friends, but formal emails are a different ballgame altogether. They are key to establishing communication in business environments and, in most cases, form a person’s first impression. Therefore, following the right email etiquette is very important.

Email etiquette dictates what’s appropriate and what’s not when you’re sending a message to a prospect, business partner, co-worker, manager, or acquaintance. They help you avoid miscommunications and mistakes. 

Here are some ways you can avoid making errors while drafting an email:

Have a clear subject line

A subject line should be able to clearly tell what the e-mail is about. The clearer your subject line, the more likely your message is going to be read. Also, avoid all capital letters or all lower-case letters, and unnecessary punctuations or URLs in the subject line as it might make the email look like spam.

Use a professional salutation

Don't use laid-back, colloquial expressions like, "Hey you guys," "Yo," or "Hi folks." This isn’t professional, no matter how well you know the recipient. Use “Hi” or “Hello” instead. Using the person’s name in the salutation -- “Hello Robert” -- is appropriate, but remember to not shorten an individual's name unless you're given permission to do so.

Don't use humour

Humour can easily wander off in translation without the proper tone or facial expressions. What you think is funny has a good chance of being misinterpreted by the opposite party, or taken as sarcasm. When in doubt, leave humour out of business communications.

Proofread your message

You’ll probably be judged by the way you compose an email. If your email is full of misspelled words and grammatical errors, you will be perceived as sloppy, careless, or perhaps uneducated. Check your spelling, grammar and message before hitting “send.”

Don't assume the recipient knows what you're talking about

Create your message as a stand-alone note, even though it's in response to a series of emails. Include the subject and any references to previous emails, research or conversations. It may be frustrating and time consuming to look back at the chain to brush up on the context. Your recipient may have hundreds of emails coming in each day and is likely to forget the chain of events leading up to your email.

Don't send angry emails

Never send an angry email, or a quick, flip response. Give it some thoughtful consideration before sending it. If you are feeling angry, put your message into the “drafts” folder, and review it again later once you are calmer and have time to formulate an appropriate response.

Keep private material confidential

It is far too easy to share emails, even accidentally. If you've got to share highly personal or confidential information, do so face to face or over the phone. Ask permission before posting sensitive material either in the body of the e-mail or in an attachment.

Don't overuse exclamation points

Exclamation points and other indications of excitement like emoticons, abbreviations like LOL, and all CAPITALS don't translate well in business communications. If you choose to use an exclamation point, use only one to convey excitement or else you risk looking childish and unprofessional.

Use a professional email address

If you're employed, you can use your company email address. But if you use a private email account, whether you're self-employed or simply like using it occasionally for work-related correspondences, you should take care when choosing that address.

Know the difference between CC and BCC

You may be often required to mark copies on a single email thread to facilitate team projects or just to keep others within the loop. However, your email should not end up being an annoyance for any of the people you are writing to.

• Use CC when you want your recipients to see others on the mailing list and get notifications when someone hits "Reply All".

• Use BCC to make the list invisible and not let people receive each update or answer on the email thread.

Reply to all emails

Give a timely and polite reply to every legitimate email addressed to you. Make it a point to write down a response letting the sender know you received their email. Inform the sender if their email was sent to the incorrect recipient, too.

Don't forget your signature

Every email should include a signature that tells the recipient who you are and the means to contact you. You can set it up to automatically appear at the end of each email so the recipient doesn’t have to look up your address, email or phone number. Generally, this would include your full name, title, the company name, and your contact information.


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