March 9, 2010 · For Employees
According to the UCLA Internet Report, of the 72.3 percent of Americans who use the internet, 87.9 percent use email. Many of us use email for business communications, which is why I am writing this article on email etiquette. While a lot of people recognize the importance of following certain rules when writing a business letter, they often forget these rules when composing an email message. Just in case you have forgotten, let me refresh your memory:
- Mind your manners: Think of basic rules you learned growing up, like saying please and thank you. Address people you don’t know as Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Dr.
- Watch your tone: Webster defines tone as, “an accent or inflection expressive of a mood or emotion.” It’s very hard to express tone in writing. You want to come across as respectful, friendly and approachable. You don’t want to come across as demanding or curt.
- Be concise: Get to the point in your email as quickly as possible, but don’t leave out the details so that your recipient wonders what on earth you are talking about.
- Be professional: Stay away from abbreviations (like LOL). And for heaven’s sake, don’t use those stupid little smiley faces when emailing for business purposes. This also means don’t use a cute email address for business correspondence. Use correct spelling and proper grammar: Enough said.
- Wait to fill in the “TO” email address: I never fill the “TO” email address until after I have proofed the body of the email and know that it is what I really want to send. This will keep you from accidentally sending an email prematurely.
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