Email Etiquette for Every Employee
In this technology-driven day and age, email messaging has become a significant form of communication. It is often preferred over a phone call. As a result, proper email etiquette is more important than ever.
In this technology-driven day and age, email messaging has become a significant form of communication. It is often preferred over a phone call. As a result, proper email etiquette is more important than ever. There are certain behaviors that are taboo in face-to-face meetings and the same goes for emails as well. You wouldn’t meet someone in person for the first time and not shake hands or introduce yourself. But people often send an email to a new contact without a “verbal handshake”. You wouldn’t scream at a business associate in the middle of the office. But people often send an email littered with capitalized sentences. To quote David Harris from Pegasus Mail, “If your words are important enough to write, then surely they are also important enough to write properly”.
Regardless of the nature of your business or corporate culture, email is about communication; so the message should be clear and concise. There are certain guidelines that employees ought to follow when sending an email, whether it’s to a co-worker, senior level management, or complete stranger.
Below are some basic guidelines to follow when sending an email on any subject matter to any recipient.
- Fill in the subject line with a meaningful phrase that describes the nature of the email in just a few short words
- Write an introduction - include name, company name, position or department, and explain the purpose of the email if sending a message to a complete stranger
- Use proper grammar and punctuation; avoid run-on sentences
- Do not use text-talk or abbreviations
- Use the same spacing and formatting as if writing a letter; use logical paragraph breaks
- Keep the message short and to the point; do not write more than what’s necessary
- Do not write sentences in all uppercase letters – it is the equivalent to yelling at someone
- Be sure to clearly answer any questions when responding to an email
- Only respond to the necessary people when responding to a group email; a reply-all may not be needed
- Never send an email in the heat of the moment; take time to cool off before addressing the issue
- Do not deliver a particular message in a email if it wouldn’t be delivered face-to-face either
- Remember that emails can live forever; be careful if sending an email that is sensitive in nature because it could land in the wrong hands
- Avoid emailing confidential information, i.e. salaries, social security numbers, credit card numbers, etc.
- Use manners; please and thank you still apply to emails
- Do not forward junk mail or spam
- Use the cc: field properly; a recipient in the cc: field should know why they are receiving the message, but should not be expected to respond
- Use the high-priority status sparingly; if a response is truly needed ASAP, a phone call is probably the faster route to take
- Proofread the email at least once before hitting send
- Avoid using the recall option; simply send another email stating a mistake was made
- Do not use any background designs because it increases the size of the email and can delay sending and receiving
- Keep the closing signature to approximately 4-7 lines and include pertinent contact information
- Never send an email without a signature at all
- Add a confidentiality statement to the bottom of emails when necessary
In addition to common sense, requiring employees to use the guidelines stated above will help avoid awkward and embarrassing moments. If you have additional suggestions to make, please leave a comment or send a carefully crafted email.
Learn more about the author, Jennifer Daugherty.
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