Like it or not, emails are a key feature of our work week
As much as we’d like to get away from our computers and devices, it is without a doubt, a key communication component of almost any business. The problem with email is that with the majority of communications for a lot of people still going through email versus over the phone or in-person, many people still don’t know how to communicate appropriately via email. With inboxes stacked high and feeling pulled in multiple directions, it can be tempting to take shortcuts. However, when you take shortcuts in written communication, you take risks – best case scenario, this can lead to typos and forgetting to add attachments. At worst, it can compromise working relationships, business deals and respect.
Never discredit how a well-written email can be a powerful tool that can make or break job offers, deals and inter-office communications. With remote working still a thing, there’s never been a better time to revise etiquette and start sending awesome, professional emails that reflect yourself well and will garner respect and polite email communications in return.
Every social situation involves etiquette – and email is a digital social scenario that you need to be prepared to have the proper manners for. Just like you don’t dine at the tables with your elbows on either side of your plate, email correspondence adheres to unspoken social norms and principles. It can feel like these social norms are in perpetual flux, with constant forms of email communication tools being used on top of email, and how you approach email communications will change depending on your audience, purpose and the relationship you share with the recipient(s). Doing things right streamlines communications and by getting your email etiquette spot on has the potential to open doors, maintain professionalism, continue business opportunities, build trust and confidence, and communicate respect to your recipient.
Kleurvision’s Code of Ethics for Email Etiquette:
- Your Email Address
Starting with the basics – make sure you are using a professional email address. Your hotmail address from 1997 won’t work anymore in this day & age; you want to ensure that you are using your company or business email address for all business communications. Even for those who are self-employed, make sure you’re using a professional email address that includes your name for transparency. Having a separate, designated work email can be beneficial. At Kleurvision, we use Google Workspace – we can set you up with an account if you need a hand!
- Subject Lines
Polite and direct subject lines will make people not cringe when they get an email from you. Do not use all-caps when sending a subject line – that will give people the impression that you are yelling at them. Clear and concise subject lines will encourage recipients to actually open your email. Also, never leave your subject line blank – it will be low on the priority list for your recipient.
Always start your email with a cordial salutation, using the proper spelling of the recipients’ names, and the proper pronoun. Not sure if the person’s name has one L or two? Check LinkedIn or a previous email correspondence. Using the right greeting can make things professional, but watch for being too formal, which can create a bit of tension upon reading the first line.
- Email content
Please, make it a priority to proofread and edit your email content! Even if it is a short message, scan for typos and errors. Once you hit send, you can’t get that email back! Poor grammar and typos shows the recipient that you don’t really care, and will not reflect professionalism. If your email was crafted with some emotions behind it, take a breather, walk away and re-read it before you hit send. You want to be responsible for the content you send. And a point to remind yourself is that nothing is confidential when it comes to email. Avoid sending any classified information or using inappropriate language, insults or comments that could get you into trouble. This reflects poorly on yourself as the sender, the organization and could potentially incur serious consequences.
- Email Styling
Stay classy in your emails! Use classic, easy to read fonts in all business correspondence and maintain clear, consistent styling that is easy to understand. Remember, tone cannot be heard in an email, so overuse of exclamation marks, emojis and abbreviations should be used sparingly. And we typically only get casual with colloquial email writing with people we know well or who use a similar communication style themselves.
- Email Signature
In business, you should always have an email signature, with some additional information about you. It could be as little as your email address and corporate address, or more information such as work and mobile phone numbers, LinkedIn account information, job title, office hours, etc. At Kleurvision, we love our wicked animated logo in our email signature! Try sending one of us an email and ask to check it out! An email signature is a sign of professionalism and makes it easier for recipients to get in touch with you for further business correspondence.
We get it. A lot of emails get sent and received on any given work day, and sometimes it is easier to take the short route and get to the point too quickly. Email etiquette and manners are key in a business, and so many opportunities can be lost in poor email correspondence. You cannot take back when you send – think things through and remember to read your email before hitting send! Your future self will thank you!