Tips for Email Etiquette - Do’s and Don’ts

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undefinedHave you ever received an email from your boss that left you scratching your head, wondering what he or she was talking about?

Have you ever experienced spending too much time composing a work email, agonizing over your word choices so much that it prevents you from getting any work done?

Let's be real. Composing emails is no fun.

In fact, a study made by the International Data Corporation discovered that employees spend 28% of their work week corresponding through email.

Some of those hours could’ve been better spent doing something else, like actually doing work.

Communicating through email doesn’t have to be a drag. Email correspondence can be so much more productive and efficient if we all follow the do’s and don’ts of email etiquette as explained below.

DO’s

Do: Write a clear and concise subject line

undefinedThe subject line to your email should be clear and concise. Additionally, it should reflect what was written in the body of your email’s content. Most users have to browse through a ton of emails in their inboxes, so the least you can do to make their lives easier is by writing a subject line they can easily identify and then classify accordingly.

Examples of a good subject line include “Request of Statement of Accounts,” “Meeting has been rescheduled,” and “Quick suggestions for presentation.”

Do: Use a professional and proper salutation

Addressing recipients with “Hey,” “Hiya,” or “Hey there,” sounds uncouth and unprofessional unless you are sending an email to a close friend. It’s always better to stick with “Hi,” “Hello,” or “Dear” followed by the recipient’s first name.

Do: Always proofread

undefinedNothing makes you look more unprofessional and uneducated than sending an email laden with typos, bad punctuation, and grammatical errors. Moreover, it will reflect badly on your company. You want to be taken seriously? Then make it a point to proofread each written email before clicking on that “Send” button.

Do: Keep it short and sweet

When writing a professional email, don’t beat around the bush -- just get straight to the point. In a professional setting, recipients expect you to deliver only the important details. If you feel like your email draft is too long, don’t hesitate to trim it down to its bare essentials.

DON’Ts

Don’t: Write when emotionally distressed

undefinedIf you’re upset about something and you feel like taking it out on somebody by writing an angry email, just stop what you’re doing for one minute. Take a deep breath. Maybe take a walk if you think that will make you feel better.

Remember, once an email has been sent, you can’t ever take it back or delete it.

Writing and sending an email written in a burst of emotion won’t solve your problems. It might even make it worse.

Don’t: Try to Be Funny

As a rule, you should throw your humor out the window when communicating via email. For one, humor doesn’t translate well on email because the recipient doesn’t expect it. Worse, your vain attempts at being funny could potentially offend. No one wants that.

Don’t: Punctuate Poorly

As a general rule, one has to use exclamation marks sparingly when writing business emails. Doing otherwise can make your emails look unprofessional. So unless you’re friendly with your email’s recipient, do away with exclamation points. Same goes with emoticons, of course.

Don’t: Leave out the sign off message

Just like in any normal conversation, it’s always good form to end the email correspondence with a conversation closer. A sign-off message such as “Thank you,” “Best regards,” or “Sincerely” also lets the recipient know that no further response is required of her.

Don’t: Bad-mouth somebody

Writing disparaging remarks about someone over email is unbecoming of a professional. It’s just bad form. Worse, that email can be sent and forwarded to anyone, which could in turn ruin your reputation and cause you to lose your job.

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