Email Etiquette Techniques
Email Writing Can Be Difficult
While instant messaging and SMS/text messaging are starting to replace email as the primary method of communication for some groups, it is important to maintain good email etiquette. This guide will teach you how to be a good writer and reader/manager for email.
Research has shown that making mistakes can have a significant impact on how others perceive you. One study found that people who received emails with grammatical errors believed the writer was less intelligent, conscientious, and trustworthy than those who did not.
We may make embarrassing mistakes due to the volume of messages we receive each day. These errors can have serious professional consequences.
Email etiquette rules will guide you in sending messages to prospects, business partners, colleagues, managers, and acquaintances. These rules help to avoid mistakes and miscommunications. You want to ensure that your email etiquette is up-to-date?
These are some Email writing tips to help you get started.
Have a clear topic line.
Many of us are faced with hundreds of emails every day. The clearer your subject line is, the better your message will be received. If you are sending a proposal, for example, make sure to include the following: “The Smith Proposal is Attached.”
Do not forget to sign your name.
A signature should be included in every email. It should tell the recipient who you really are and how you can contact them. It should be set up so that it appears at the bottom of every email. So that the recipient doesn’t have to search for your email address, phone number or email address, include all your contact information.
Use a professional salutation
No matter how well you know your recipient, using “Hey”, “Yo”, or “Hiya”, is not professional. Instead, use “Hi” and “Hello”.
Humor is not a good idea.
Emails are not the best medium to convey humor. Emails can be misinterpreted. Humor, even if it is thought funny, could easily be misinterpreted by the other person. Avoid using humor in business communications if you are unsure.
Proofread your message.
Correct grammar and spelling are essential when you send business correspondence. Before you send, proofread the work. Double-check spelling and email addresses of recipients. Sometimes, autocorrect can alter names.
Do not be surprised if your email style is a judgment on you. If your email contains misspelled words or grammar errors, it could be interpreted as careless, lazy, or even uneducated. Before you hit “send”, make sure to check your grammar, spelling, and message.
Do not assume that the recipient is familiar with what you are talking about.
Even if you are responding to multiple emails, your message should be written as a standalone note. No “one-liners” are allowed. Include the subject, as well as any references to research or previous emails. It can be tedious and time-consuming to go back through the sequence to review the context. The recipient might receive hundreds of emails each day, and may not remember the sequence of events that led up to your email.
All emails should be replied to.
Each legitimate email you receive should be answered promptly and politely. Even if you don’t have the answer right now, take the time to respond and let the sender know that you received their email. If the email was not sent to the correct recipient, inform the sender.
If you are mad, don’t respond.
Do not send an angry message or respond in a hurry. Before you send your message, give it some thought. You can put any anger in the “drafts”, and then review the message later, when you are more calm and have had time to come up with a suitable response.
Keep private information confidential.
It’s easy to share email addresses, even inadvertently. You should not share sensitive or personal information via email. Before you post sensitive information in an email body or as an attachment, ask permission.
Do not! overuse exclamation points.
Business communications are not a good place to use exclamation points or other signs of excitement, such as emoticons and abbreviations like LOL. If you don’t know the recipient well, leave them out. A string of exclamation marks !!!! is not professional.
Although it may take some time to keep your emails clean and concise, you’ll look better organised and polished over the long-term.
You can cut and paste information to an email instead of attaching a document. If you are able to do so, inform the recipient in the body of the email that you have attached the document. It is also a good practice to compress or attach the documents in a zip file. This will make it take up less space in the recipient’s inbox. You might also consider sharing documents and providing a link for the recipient to access them.
Within 24 hours, send a reply
It is common practice to reply within 24 hours to emails sent by others. You can apologise if you happen to miss this deadline and politely explain why.
Before you forward it on
It is a good idea to briefly summarise the contents of any discussion so that the recipient knows exactly what you want from them. Keep in mind, however, that not all emails are meant to be sent and may contain sensitive or private information. Be cautious when forwarding emails.
Set informative out-of-office replies
Set up an automatic out-of-office response to notify people that you will not be responding to their emails for a certain date if you are going to be away from the office for a prolonged period. If it is urgent, include a contact number. To make it easy for recipients to recognise that they have received an automated reply, include “Out of Office” along with the date in your subject line. It is also helpful to include the subject line as “This automated message while you are out of office.”
Other Email Etiquette Tips
Keep messages short and to-the-point. Your most important points should be made first. If necessary, add detail. It is important to make it clear in the beginning of your message why you are writing. It is not good for the receiver to have to read through long messages just to get to the point. It is also less likely that the recipient will respond to your messages or act on them. It is just too much hard work to try and find your message. It is often forgotten or left behind.
Do not discuss multiple topics in one message. Send multiple e-mails if you have to address more than one topic. It is easier to quickly scan the subject lines to find what you are looking for. This also makes it easier to send e-mails that are shorter and more likely to be responded to.
You should respond promptly however the E-mail doesn’t always require an immediate response. If you work in customer service, sales, tech support or any other area that requires a quicker response, responding once to twice per day is enough. You must respond promptly, or you risk a negative reputation and a decrease in effectiveness.
Pay attention to your tone. E-mails are different from face-to-face conversations or phone calls. The people who receive your messages won’t be able to hear your pitch, tone or inflection. You need to be aware of your voice within your emails.
There are many ways to send an email, and every employee has their own style.
Context is everything. What are the recipients of your employees’ letters? What level of familiarity do they have with the recipient? Are they able to meet them in person? What will their interpretation of the email look like? What are they trying achieve with the communication?
Our team can help your employees navigate the various communication styles within the company and set the tone. This is done by training that’s tailored to suit your team.