The Golden Rules of Email Etiquette
Sending emails is the most efficient way of communicating in the world of business today. It’s quick, inexpensive and effective, as long as you stick to the golden rules when composing and sending your message.
Sending Emails Outside of Your Company
Think of your email message as a slightly less formal version of a letter rather than an upmarket text. That way you shouldn’t go too far wrong.
Fill in the Subject Box
Always fill in the subject box to let your recipient know what the email is about, so it doesn’t end up in the spam folder or deleted without being read. Punctuate properly with capital letters in the right places. Don’t use bold, as it can be mistaken as spam.
Also, using bold or capital letters in the body of the message can come across as being aggressive or pushy and could trigger a negative response from the recipient.
Be Clear and Polite
Always be clear and polite. Make sure your message is easily understood. If you’re in any doubt, ask a colleague to have a look. If anything seems unclear they will probably spot it.
Don’t Use Slang
Don’t include emoticons, smiley faces, exclamation marks or question marks to make a point. Similarly don’t use slang in the way you might when sending a text message, like ‘cu l8r’ instead of see you later. You may think it makes you come across as cute or quirky but in the world of business you won’t be taken seriously. Double check for spelling and grammatical errors.
Send Your Email to the Right Person
Make sure you’re sending your email to the right person. Hitting the ‘reply to all’ button is rarely necessary, so think carefully about who needs to read your email, before you send it. Respect the privacy of other recipients and use the bcc (blind copy button) if needed.
Don’t Send Attachments Unless Asked
Sending attachments should only be done when it has been discussed and agreed beforehand. Some companies automatically delete any emails with attachments if they are not expecting them. It’s a precaution as this is often how a virus gets into the computer system.
Sending Emails to Colleagues Within Your Company
All of the above rules still apply, even when sending to a colleague who is working for the same company as yourself.
It may be tempting to send non work related messages to colleagues you are friendly with but, again this will be viewed as unprofessional and could even lead to disciplinary action if the company feel you are wasting valuable work time.
Never send or forward an email that asks you to do so, or threatens you with bad luck if you don’t. These were originally called chain letters but now come in the form of emails and are often used to collect email addresses which are then sold on.
Finally, remember be clear, be polite and be professional. Always read your email through a final time before hitting the send button.