Not everyone can articulate themselves well through written work- I know this mainly because of email communication. I’ve read some emails that led me to believe that the person behind the computer was either extremely upset (when they weren’t), uninterested in our conversation or that their account had been hacked by a five year old playing a mean joke on me… Yes, they were that difficult to read.
Email communication is a conversation through writing. When used for business it should be polite, easy to understand and to the point. There are certain rules to obey to avoid your email being sent unprofessionally and received in the wrong way.
Here are my top email etiquette ‘rules’:
1. Include a formal salutation in the initial email
Hello, hi, or even just the recipient’s name will do. Sending an email without saying hello to the person you are sending it to may come across as lazy and/or indifferent. The following emails in the conversation thread don’t have to have a salutation (I always include one but it isn’t a must). You wouldn’t just walk up to someone without them seeing you coming and start talking without saying hi, would you? Maybe you would… but try not to in email.
2. Include an appropriate subject line
This will help the recipient prioritize their incoming emails and also help them search for your email thread in the future.
3. Don’t type in all caps
This is read as though you are YELLING. No one likes to be yelled at so your message won’t be received well.
4. Keep your email short and to the point
This is to benefit both the sender and receiver. The sender isn’t stuck writing for an hour and the reader isn’t stuck reading for an hour. If you feel that your email is getting lengthy- take that as a sign that you should set up a meeting or conference call.
Please use an easy to read font in a dark colour and please don’t use a size 8 or 20. Reading a bright red email in Chopin Script sized 18 is not the way anyone wants to start their day.
6. Remember your audience
Write your emails for the person receiving them. Maybe you write “ur” instead of your or use abbreviations such as “LOL” or “BRB” when you write with friends but keep your emails as professional as you can when you’re representing your business. I would even avoid the famous smiley face emoticon until you have established a relationship with the receiver and you are on friendly terms. 🙂
7. Say please and thank you
Pretty basic stuff, but it can be lost in verbal to written translation.
8. Proofread your email
I have a trick when it comes to writing emails. I write them in Word and then I copy and paste it into an email. I do this for a couple reasons:
- My spelling is correct (note that your grammar still may not be so proofread anyway)
- If I am upset or irritated this allows me to re-read and re-word the email without accidentally pressing send and throwing all of my email etiquette rules out the window
Email communication is an important part of your daily business interactions- treat it as such and your impression on the receiver should be a pleasant one.
Do you have an email pet peeve? Please share it in the comment section below!