How’s Your Email Etiquette?

If you had to guess how many business emails you receive in a day, what would you say? 25? 50? 100? In today’s world, it’s safe to say that email communications have exponentially surpassed paper communications, especially when it comes to business. Even though most of us use email on a daily basis and feel comfortable with it, we could all use a refresher when it comes to email etiquette—especially in the workplace.

Here are 16 simple tips to help when sending those workplace emails, whether it be to a client, co-workers, or your boss:

  • Use a simple and standard font – Choose a simple font and text color when drafting emails to keep things professional and show that you’re a trustworthy source. Some legible fonts include: Arial, Garamond, Times New Roman, etc. If bold or italics are necessary, avoid using them on more than one word or string of words in an email.
  • Keep your subject short and to the point – Your subject line should send a clear message on why you are writing the email and/or what you are writing about. Emails with no subjects run the risk of being looked over or recipients thinking they’re spam.
  • Use a professional email address – Best practice is to use your company email address, but if you are self-employed or need to use a personal email, make sure the email address contains only professional words. If it doesn’t, you may want to consider creating an email address solely for work purposes.
  • Address recipients formally – Unless you know the recipient well, it’s best to keep things formal by addressing them as “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” following a professional salutation such as “Dear”. When addressing your recipient, make sure you address the email with their name exactly as it’s shown in their email signature line (if applicable).
  • Introduce yourself – If you are emailing someone for the first time, it is always best to give a quick introduction of yourself and your company, as well as indicating to them how you received their information.
  • Beware of “Reply All” – This is a nice feature that allows you to respond to everyone all at once, but it is often overused. It’s always best to use “Reply” if you are unsure to avoid flooding other’s inboxes with unnecessary emails.
  • Avoid using all caps – As with any formal conversation, use sentence case when drafting emails, rather than all caps. Using all caps can send the message that you are upset and “screaming” your intentions at your recipient.
  • Attachments – If the information you’re sending can be copied and pasted into an email rather than attached, this is the best option. If an attachment is absolutely necessary, inform the recipient that you’ve attached a document and try to compress or attach a zip file to help conserve space. If attaching URL’s, shorten the link using a link shortener or hyperlink for a clean and professional look.
  • Proofread, Proofread, Proofread – Before sending emails, proofread and check for any spelling errors, which will help ensure professionalism.
  • No emojis – While emojis are a huge part of online activity and personal emails, they can come across as very unprofessional in certain cultures so it’s best to avoid them, especially with business emails.
  • Reply within 24 hours – Common courtesy for business emails is to reply within 24 hours. If more time has passed, politely explain your delay and express your apology.
  • Professional tone – Keep things professional and positive when drafting emails. Avoid sarcasm and humor, as it can be interpreted incorrectly.
  • Email signature – Keep your email signature short and sweet. It should only include the following information: name, job title, company website and your phone number.
  • Use carbon copy (CC) and blind carbon copy (BC) properly – Use carbon copy for a group of business contacts, or co-workers to openly connect them to the conversation. Use blind carbon copy for contacts who do not know each other to protect privacy and prohibit recipients from replying to a large group of people.
  • Be careful with forwarding – When forwarding emails, summarize the discussion so the recipient is aware of what you are needing from them. As a reminder, use caution when forwarding, as some messages are not always meant to be forwarded due to sensitive or private information.
  • Out-of-office replies – Best practice is to always set up an out-of-office reply to alert people that you won’t be responding until a specific date. Always include an alternative person that they can contact for emergencies.

Now that you’ve got the right information and tools, go forth and draft that email you’ve been dreading to send! We hope these suggestions will help build your confidence when drafting business emails. If you have any questions regarding emails or email tools, you can contact Entre Technology Services.

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