Business email is a great tool. It has enabled us to communicate very quickly to people all over the world without even opening our mouths! However, there is a time and place for email. Here are some simple etiquette tips you can follow to make sure that your email recipients understand what you are saying, and only what you are saying.
- First and foremost, unless you are communicating a simple request or piece of information, email should be used as a followup tool, not an initial communication tool. Talk with the person you are trying to communicate with, then followup the facts with email so that there is documentation of what was said or agreed upon.
- People can not hear tone in an email, and in a business email and emoticon doesn’t do the trick. Be careful that if something can be read multiple ways, someone doesn’t “hear” the wrong tone in your message. Since this is important, refer back to tip #1.
- Except for the purpose of followup, email should be short. The longer the email, the less chance there is that it will be read and/or understood. If you get the reputation for sending log drawn out emails, people will dread getting them, wait to open them until they “have time”, and barely read them even when they do open them. Don’t be “that person”.
- Once its emailed, consider it written in stone. There is no “taking it back”. I tell people to not say anything in an email that they wouldn’t want to explain later. While email can be “forged”, it will be clear that it came from you and should reflect how you want people to see you.
- Lastly, don’t EVER send an email when you are emotional about a situation. If you feel you need to vent to your computer by writing a scathing email when you are upset about something, go ahead. But don’t put the senders email address in at the beginning and save it as a draft to re-read for later. Once you have cooled off, take another look, and review what you have written. Maybe there is a more constructive way to get your point across.
Michael Giuffrida from Southington CT has been operating businesses since 1997. He is an experienced entrepreneur in business management, profitable growth, business valuation, mergers and acquisitions, and information technology managed services.