Email Etiquette: A Quick Guide
Emails are the communication path of choice for business, superseding even our use of the telephone, so now more than ever its essential to be aware of email etiquette. It seems we have a lot to say to each other, especially in the business world. Radicati’s recent survey estimates that business emails sent and received every day around the world total 124.5billion, and that number is growing by around 3% every year.
While this number does include the odious amounts of spam we all receive, once you’ve filtered out the rubbish there’s still a lot of premium information moving between laptops, smartphones and tablets.
With so much formal and informal communication flying around, it’s important to make sure you’re fully aware of the email etiquette so that you can both avoid getting side-lined straight into the spam folder, and avoid causing offence to your recipient. Here are a few quick tips on how to send a business email that will be well received and get your business message across
1. Email Etiquette Essentials – Keep it clear
According to a study by the International Data Corporation we spend around 28% of our working week reading and responding to emails. Your recipient doesn’t want to wade through piles of pointless ‘filler’ to get to the nuts and bolts of your message, so keep your language simple, clear and professional.
- Ensure the subject line tells your recipient exactly what the email is about, and whether it’s a response to a previous conversation.
- If you’re sending an attachment then mention that too, so they know that it’s a bona fide attachment and not a virus-carrying spam email.
2. Get your recipient’s name right
Take the time to make sure you’ve got the person’s name correct. Nothing says unprofessional like a misspelt name, especially if you have the name right in front of you.
3. Sign off properly
Make sure your signature includes your name, your position, and details of how to contact you, including a phone number, so that your recipient doesn’t have to hunt around to find out who you are and how to get in touch with you.
4. This is not the time to use humour
Something that’s absolutely hilarious to you may be utterly lost on your business contact. Remember that you’re dealing with a business situation here so unless you’re a stand-up comic emailing their agent, leave out the humorous asides.
5. Never email in anger
There’s a (relatively) old saying: email in haste, repent at leisure. If you’re angry, upset or frustrated about a situation then make sure you give your message plenty of thought before you send it. If necessary, pop it in the draft folder for a while and then come back to it once you’ve calmed down. This will give you the time you need to formulate an appropriate and professional response.
6. Keep it confidential
Emails are usually one-to-one communications, although others may be cc’d or even bcc’d in as well. Make sure that the email you’re sending is going to the right person/people, and never hit ‘send to all’ by accident.
7. Use emojis, LOL or other social media slang with caution (or not at all)
Business emails are rarely the place for smiley faces, ‘LOL’ or emojis. Make sure your business emails are clean, respectable and utterly professional.