Electronic Mail Do’s and Don’ts: Basic Email Etiquette

In this day and age communication, if not done on instant messaging platforms, is commonly done through Electronic Mail or email. Most if not all confidential documents, transactions and requests are discussed, sent and settled through company emails. But even with this knowledge, most of us still have difficulty composing email’s, taking hours to type a short reminder or reply. Always keep in mind, when writing that almost angry reply to a small misunderstanding with a client, that you are a representative of your company, you will have to take a few breaths, and rethink the tone of your email.

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Just like a lot of things in business there are guidelines that can help you in composing an email for any situation, we’ve gathered a few of them for your reference.

  • Use proper spelling, grammar & punctuation
    Using the proper grammar, punctuation or spelling won’t only give a good impression but it will also help you get your message across.
  • Use a subject that is meaningful to the recepient
    Make sure that your subject tells the recipient what they can expect from the email.
  • Don’t beat around the bush go straight to the point
    Normally, people take a few minutes in the morning or within their day to check their emails for updates, having to read something too long can be discouraging. Use bullet or numbered lists to outline your important points, then suggest a meeting or a phone conversation for the rest of the details.
  • Use active instead of passive
    Use the the active voice whenever it is applicable. For example, “We will process your order today” sounds better — and has more urgency — than ‘Your order will be processed today’. The first sounds friendlier and more personal, while the latter, especially when used too often, sounds stilted and formal.
  • Make it personal use templates only when necessary
    Aside from addressing all your emails personally, the content should be personal as well. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t use templates, for commonly asked questions like directions or quotations of your products or services, a template can come in handy. Just be sure to customize the beginning and the end of your email.
  • Be careful with abbreviations and emoticons
    Avoid using abbreviations in your email unless you’re sure that the recipient knows what it means. This goes the same for emoticons or smileys like :), :-), =-) they are commonly used but in business emails, lets all be professional and accept that it just isn’t appropriate.
  • Reply as soon as you can
    If you’ve received an email but will not be able to reply with the needed information just yet, always acknowledge that you’ve read it and give the recipient a time frame so they know when to expect the detials they need. There’s nothing more annoying than not knowing when a reply will arrive.
  • Only use the “Reply to All” function when necessary
    The Reply to All option should only be used if you are asking a question that others may be wondering or may be related to as well. Replies like “Thank you” or “I will forward this to my team” should only be replied to the person who sent the email.
  • Review your email before you send it
    To avoid a long email thread and numerous questions, be sure to check and double check your email after you’ve composed it. Make sure all the information the recipient needs is there and be sure that all your points or instructions are clear.

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