Nowadays, business email is used more than any other means of communication in business, yet many still don’t understand the importance of email etiquette. How you compose an email reflects your professionalism and personality, so it is worth spending some time learning how to portray a professional, yet friendly image. You only have one chance to make that first impression which will be invaluable to building trust and confidence.
THE BUSINESS ETIQUETTE BASICS YOU NEED TO KNOW
Below are the key Business Email Etiquette issues that need to be considered with every commercial email sent. These are issues business owners, their employees and entrepreneurs need to be aware of in their day-to-day online communications to ensure the best possible results.
- WATCH YOUR GRAMMAR, SPELLING, and PUNCTUATION: Spelling, grammar and punctuation should be one of your top concerns in writing business emails. Remember, how you write reflects your total professionalism and personality. If you do not take these things into consideration, it may appear that you are too lazy to communicate with them and thus will give them the perception that you are not going to be a good person to deal business with. Always double check your email before sending.
- FORMATTING EMAILS: Do not type in all caps that’s yelling or reflects shouting emphasis. If you bold type, know you are bolding your statement, and it will be taken that way by the reader. Do not use patterned backgrounds; it makes your email harder to read. Use emoticons sparingly to ensure your tone and intent are clear.
- DON’T BE SLOPPY IN AN ATTEMPT TO BE FRIENDLY: Play it safe – a balance between formal and friendly is ideal for the first contact. Writing in a conversational manner can come across as too casual, while a formal approach can seem stern or impersonal. Be reserved in your attempt to write like you are addressing a close business contact for later communications.
- BRIEFLY INTRODUCE YOURSELF: Do not assume the person receiving your e-mail know who you are, or remembers meeting you. If you are uncertain whether the recipient recognizes your e-mail address or name, include a simple reminder of who you are to the person you are reaching out to; a formal and extensive biography of yourself is not necessary.
- REPLY TO EMAILS PROMPTLY: Within reason, an email should be treated as a phone call and returned in a reasonable time frame.
- BE CAREFUL WITH CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION: Refrain from discussing confidential information in emails such as someone’s tax information or the particulars of a highly-sensitive business deal. Should the e-mail get into the wrong person’s hands, you could face serious, even legal repercussions.
- REFRAIN FROM SENDING ONE-LINERS: “Thanks,” and “Oh, Ok” do not advance the conversation in any way. Feel free to put “No Reply Necessary” at the top of the e-mail when you don’t anticipate a response.
- AVOID USING SHORTCUTS TO REAL WORDS, EMOTICONS, JARON OR SLANG: Words from grown, business people using shortcuts such as “4 u” (instead of “for you”), “Gr8” (for great) in business-related e-mail is not acceptable. If you wouldn’t put a smiley face or emoticon on your business correspondence, you shouldn’t put it in an email message. Any of the above has the potential to make you look less professional.