Perfecting Your E-mail Etiquette

Nothing annoys recipients more than when people reply and leave the messages messy, for example, an e-mail chain that includes excessive carets (>>>), or pages and pages of e-mail addresses that weren’t protected using Bcc. You can get rid of carets by selecting the text, Ctrl+F to use the Find and Replace command to find a caret and replace all of them with nothing. You can get rid of all the e-mail addresses just by deleting. Clean it up, then send it.With inboxes being clogged by hundreds of e-mails a day, it’s crucial that your subject line gets to the point. It should be reasonably simple and descriptive of what you have written about. Expect that any e-mail with a cute, vague, or obscure subject will get trashed. Also, proof your subject line as carefully as you would proof the rest of the e-mail.

Sending unannounced large attachments can clog the receiver’s inbox and cause other important e-mails to bounce. If you are sending something that is over 500KB, senders should ask, ‘Would you mind if I sent you an attachment? When would be the best time for you?’

Unless it’s been specifically requested, refrain from sending a message with more than two attachments. Also, give the attached file(s) a logical name so the recipient knows at a glance the subject and the sender.

Before you click Reply All or put names on the Cc or Bcc lines, ask yourself if all the recipients need the information in your message. If they don’t, why send it? Take time to send your messages to the right people.When a topic has lots of parameters that need to be explained or negotiated and will generate too many questions and confusion, don’t handle it via e-mail. Also, e-mail should not be used for last minute cancellations of meetings, lunches, interviews, and never for devastating news. If you have an employee or a friend you need to deliver bad news to, a phone call is preferable. If it’s news you have to deliver to a large group, e-mail is more practical.

The long e-mail is a thing of the past. Write concisely, with lots of white space, so as to not overwhelm the recipient. Make sure when you look at what you’re sending it doesn’t look like a burden to read – feel free to use bullet points. The person reading your e-mail should not have to dig through several paragraphs in order to figure out what you’re asking. You should state the purpose of the e-mail within the first two sentences.

You never want someone to have to look up how to get in touch with you. If you’re social media savvy, include all of your social media information in your signature as well. Your e-mail signature is a great way to let people know more about you, especially when your e-mail address is does not include your full name or company.

Business owners should make sure their staff is trained in e-mail communications – don’t assume they know what they’re doing, and what is considered professional. Set up e-mail standards that everyone at the company should abide by.

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