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Email is the main form of communication in the business world, according to The Radicati Group, and 100 billion professional messages are sent and received daily.
“Effective communication is important to building strong relationships and succeeding in business,” Reference says. “It’s a combination of good speaking and listening skills that leads to clear, concise communication at work and personal relationships.”
A McKinsey Global Institute study found 28 percent of the workweek is spent managing e-mail.
With so many messages being set, errors will happen. Here are some tips to improve the clarity and professionalism of your business communications.
Email Etiquette Dos
- If you receive an email, respond. The exception would be spam messages. If there’s no time for a lengthy response, acknowledge receipt and then follow up in under 48 business hours.
- Have a clear, appropriate subject line. Vague subject lines ensure your message won’t be a top priority. Even worse: when the subject line doesn’t match the body of the message.
- Your sender name should be professional. Avoid anything that could be confused as spam or paints you in a bad light.
- Use a signature in your professional messages that includes your contact information.
- Proofread for clarity as well as spelling and grammatical mistakes.
- If you need to include attachments with a message, don’t forget them. A the same time, be mindful of attachment file sizes.
- Make sure attachments are sent in programs the recipient can open.
- Answer all questions and address all comments.
- Keep your personal life to your friends and family.
- When contacting someone for the first time, address the recipient by name.
Email Etiquette Don’ts
- Do not use CAPs. This the online equivalent of YELLING.
- Speaking of yelling, never respond to an email when angry or otherwise emotional.
- Text speak belongs in text messages. A person shouldn’t need a code book to figure out what you’re saying.
- Don’t babble. The importance of your message will be lost.
- Email only who you need. Don’t hit reply all, and don’t CC anyone who isn’t directly affected by the message.
- Don’t forward chain mail or any messages that could harm your reputation.
Do you have any email etiquette tips to add?
Updated: 26 June 2018