Emails changed the world of business correspondence. They now take up a significant portion of our workdays. And although most of us rush through typing our emails to move on to handling other, bigger responsibilities of the day, a misspelt word or a wrong email address could seriously sabotage our reputation at work.
While an efficient person is a godsend in any workplace, we must not forget in our hurry, that business email, like all forms of communication is bound by social rules. Here are some of our tips to perfecting your business email etiquette.
Most of us have hundreds of emails clogging our inbox every day, so the clearer your subject line is, the better chances your email has of being read and not ending up in the spam folder. Try to sum up the topic concisely in your subject line. Vague subject lines in official emails is a big no-no.
Long emails are a thing of the past. Keep it short and get to the point straightaway. Aim to convey the crux of your message within the first two lines. Take care to leave out lots of empty space so that reading your email does not become strenuous to the recipient’s eyes. Instead, use bullet points. This way the recipient doesn’t have to dig through several paragraphs to make sense of your email.
Be careful with confidential information. Far too many emails get shared inadvertently. And if one of those emails is of a sensitive nature, for example, the particulars of a business deal or an employee’s tax information, the sender could face serious legal repercussions. If you must share information of such nature, it is advisable to do so in person or at least ask for the recipient’s permission before hitting “Send”.
Slang, emoticons and abbreviations are not okay.
Overuse of exclamation marks and other indicators of excitement like emoticons, abbreviations such as “Gr8”, “LOL” and CAPITALS, don’t do well in business emails. Another tip - Always use professional salutations. “Hey”, “Howdy” or “Hiya” are not inappropriate for business email usage no matter your familiarity with the recipient. Instead, go for the more widely accepted, “Hi”, “Hello” or Dear”.
Don’t forget to proofread your message. An email littered with typos or grammatical errors comes across as sloppy and callous which in turn reflects poorly on the sender and their organisation. If you are not a hundred percent confident about your grammar skills, make use of one of the many writing softwares available on the internet to help you along.
Some things are better explained in person. If you think your email might raise too many questions or create confusion, pick up the phone and arrange for a meeting. Calling or meeting up in person is the best way to go when making last minute cancellations or delivering bad news to a coworker or a friend.
Lastly, reply to all emails in a timely fashion. Make it a habit to surf through your mailbox every morning to avoid missing out on anything important. Inculcating these email etiquette tips will make your emails appear more professional and polished.