Written by Sanjutha Ravindrakumaran
All of us have emails right? How many of us get annoyed with somebody else’s emails? Or soon realized, made a stupid mistake after pressing the “send” button? Or replied back to clarify the meaning of the email message? It is nothing life-threatening, but it is that serious if we don’t care enough and keep on repeating those mistakes.
“When it comes to the business world, regardless of the mode of communication, courtesy and professionalism should never go out of style.”
Dale Carnegie, an American educator (1888 – 1955) says that there are four ways to make contact to the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four ways:
- What we do;
- How we look;
- What we say; and
- How we say it
When it comes to the business communication, it’s our responsibility to convey to our business contacts that we are easy and with pleasure to work with. And thus, we should know how to contact business professionals properly. It is of utmost importance to be aware of how business email etiquette matters and how the organizational technology should be used as well.
Here, we are going to see some basics that professionals should know about and to focus on in business email. How many of us read and double check the email before sending it? We should never be complacent on doing “just-okay” works; but we should do our best, then go for extra miles, if possible.
How about the internal email audit?
One important factor is the internal email audit. Organizations check and verify if their employees follow the standards of corporate emailing. Though it is based on their organizational policies, we need to know that regardless of what the audit is, everyone should still maintain professionalism.
What is this email audit all about? This simply records to whom we send emails / receive from during business hours and whether we follow the email format for business communications, and the quality of our external emails and internal emails.
We may think if we meet the email audit requirements, we are done! Well, professionalism is more far from that.
With the emphasis on professionalism, focus on:
- Whether the exact message is conveyed to the reader, as it is from the sender’s point of view,
- Usage of abbreviations
- Whether our subject makes us a spammer or not
There are a lot to consider, but at least we know the foundation (before we can be branded as ‘email headaches.’)
Basics of email etiquette
There is a structure of your email; whether we have intently structured it as an email or not. We, humans have a head and a body, as to emails, they have:
- Email subject
- Courtesy of Address
- Attachments (if any)
- Body (Message)
- Signature (with a link/contact option to know you more)
However, we as professionals should be aware how to convey the message properly and how to draft emails. Take note of what level of language to be used.
Moreover, there are lots of points to remember. These are,
- Know when to use reply and reply all
- Practice to provide meaningful and direct-to-the-point subject line
- Subjects are not all in CAPS or all in lowercase
- Change relevant or open a new email thread
- Provide warnings while sending large attachments
- Use proper abbreviations (not recommended for external email-use)
- Know top post and bottom post
- Avoid bottom posts; instead, use top posts for business emails.
- Addressing and courtesy models
- Be careful while using To, CC, and BCC
- Provide proper signature
- Focus on language like grammar and punctuations
- Highlight the date/time (font / color bold / italicized & underlined)
- Be careful in forwarding emails (some emails contain sensitive information and data)
- Out of office emails (provide modes of contact or alternative personal’s contact information)
- Practice immediate replies
And lastly, never assume.
In popular opinion, as one of the inspirational trainer said, ASSUME = ASS+U+ME (Assumptions make you and me an ass.)
So, as final notes, brief your email points in a proper way, without any assumptions. In this blog, we had a glance on why business email etiquette is important and what to consider. In the next blog post, it will feature the tips and detailed basics in email etiquette, with how based points with some examples and real-life experience.