Email Etiquette

Our corporate world gets hectic and we have emails flying in and out of our inbox every single day. But do we take a minute to check our email etiquette before we hit send or reply? Here are things to consider before sending out that email.

Introduce yourself:
Always introduce yourself in the initial communication. Cite how you got the other person’s email address whether it’s through a mutual friend or a third party. If you met and exchanged contacts at some point, jog the other person’s memory – do not assume someone remembers you. Neither assume they will know you from your email address.

Depending on the nature of the email, make a point of responding to emails that end up in your inbox. Sometimes, you can just reply with a promise to get back with a more elaborate reply later if the email requires a bit of consideration or consultation.

Keep it official:
It is always safe to discuss public and official matters via email. Private matters are best handled with a phone call. Once you send an email, you have no control over what the other person will do with it; whether they will print it, forward it or use it as incriminating evidence against you. Don’t send an email that you wouldn’t print and pin on the notice board for all to read. Remember, email communication can be archived. Forever.

Exclamation marks.
These don’t belong in your email. An email that has successive question marks (???) or exclamation marks (!!!) appears reprimanding. Whatever your state of mind while writing an email, always send a sober email without the numerous marks.

Only CC people who are relevant to the communication. Avoid dragging people into a communication they don’t need to be in.

Protect other people’s email addresses by using BCC to copy more than one person in the same email. This is especially in a situation where the recipients do not know each other, yet you want to share the same information with them all.

If an email was sent to you and copied to other people, reply to all the people on the thread, unless you want to share information with only one specific person in the thread then you can forgo the ‘Reply to all’ and opt for ‘Reply’ instead.

Keep it short and concise:
Get to the point. Do not bombard your recipient with paragraphs upon paragraph of words. It is also advisable to use a lot of white space so as not to tire someone when they are reading the email.

Subject is key:
Make sure your email has a subject line that helps explain the content of the email. This is mainly what every email recipient looks at before opening their email.

You are what you send:
Your email says a lot about you. Make sure it says only good things. An email that is scattered, disorganized and full of typos communicates a bad image of who you are as a person. Take a minute to check for typos, to space words correctly, to confirm that the Subject line is relevant to the email etc.

Before you hit send, it helps to confirm what you are sending and who you are sending it to. It does not hurt.

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