There are some who don’t realize how important e-mail communication actually is. This may be because instant and text messaging is quickly becoming the way to communicate with some. However, e-mail etiquette is still an important part of life.
In addition, educating employees about what can be said and what is best not said in an e-mail goes a long way in presenting a professional image. Just a few simple additions or omissions can result in an e-mail message that stands out as above the rest.
E-mail Etiquette 101:
Make your points quickly. Unless it is from your aunt or sister, most people don’t read long e-mails. Get to the point and then stop.
Grammar, punctuation, and spelling are more important than you think. Take the time to re-read your e-mail for errors. We need to remember that sometimes a word will pass a spell check, because it is spelled right but is inappropriate given the context. Remember that spell check is just a tool to help you, but it’s still best to proofread your e-mail.
Be swift about answering. Your clients send e-mails, because they have questions or concerns that are important to them. Therefore, reply to their e-mail quickly.
All uppercase or lowercase gives the wrong impression. All caps mean that you are shouting in an e-mail. All lowercase makes you look lazy. Even if you don’t mean it that way, it’s always best avoid all caps or all lowercase.
Know the difference between Bcc and Cc. When you send something Cc, you are sending a carbon copy to everyone listed. They can all see who it was sent to, which is a concern because most people like to keep their e-mail addresses private. Bcc, however, is blind carbon copy. Only the recipient and sender know who it was sent to.
Proofread, proofread, proofread. In addition to punctuation errors, it’s important to check who the e-mail is going to. We have all heard of e-mails that went to the wrong recipient to the embarrassment of the sender of the message. I know of one that ended up in the HR department, for this very reason.
Clean up your e-mails before forwarding them. When e-mails are forwarded over and over again, they often contain ‘>’ and other characters in all the wrong places. A great tool to clean up your e-mail forwards can be found online.
When we practice e-mail etiquette, we avoid mistakes and misunderstandings. Our communication becomes clearer, and we deliver the message that we had intended to deliver.