Email etiquette is very important in regards to succeeding in the business world. There’s so much that can be misconstrued via email, so it’s up to you to make sure you handle this method of communication in a professional manner. Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard, authors of TREATING PEOPLE WELL, share 8 tips to emailing like a pro.
#1. Be straightforward.
Sarcasm is difficult to recognize without hearing the speaker’s tone of voice or seeing the smile and accompanying eye roll. Save emojis and overpunctuation for your friends. Messages that are all in capitals denote ANGER.
#2. Be timely.
Write back quickly, even if it’s only to say you can’t properly respond at the moment and will be back in touch as soon as possible. Then the sender can’t misconstrue your lack of response as disinterest or disrespect. (You can take more time to respond to personal emails.)
#3. Be polite.
Identify the reason for your email in the “Subject” line, and if you’re emailing someone you don’t know, use salutations that are appropriate, such as “Dear Ms. Smith.” In business emails, use the same format as you would in writing an actual letter. Avoid abbreviations like “thx” for “thanks” so you don’t seem hurried and overly casual. Unless you’re in the middle of a real-time email back-and-forth, you should always use some kind of sign-off at the end of the email, such as “All the best” or “Best regards,” and your name. Adding a standard signature that includes your name, title, work address, and phone number is helpful for those who may want to follow up.
#4. Don’t bring alcohol into the mix.
Avoid responding to business questions after you’ve had a glass or two. Your reply will lack the coherence and consideration that it deserves, and you may need to walk it back the next day.
#5. Don’t overreact.
When you receive a message that makes you upset, take a moment before answering. Remind yourself: Emails are forever. How many of us have blasted off angry responses that were completely out of proportion and lived to regret it? As with handling conflicts, a measured response is better than a rash one. You make more of an impact when you stay calm and marshal your facts logically.
#6. Go easy on “Reply All.”
Your emails may end up going to people who were not meant to see them or annoy people who don’t need to.
#7. Double-check everything.
Auto-correct, auto-fill, and autoreply can be dangerous. To her embarrassment, Lea once sent an attachment of her joint tax return to a Washington insider because his last name was similar to that of her accountant. If you want to be certain you don’t send an email too soon, leave the “To” line blank until the very last second; this will prevent you from sending a draft before you’ve completed your thought process.
#8. Express gratitude.
It’s fine to send a fulsome thank you via email. It’s not as good as a handwritten note, but it’s better than not thanking someone at all.
Discover more ways on how to succeed in the workplace and life in TREAT PEOPLE WELL by Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard.
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Excerpted from Treat People Well by Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard. Copyright © 2018 by the author. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
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