Email etiquette refers to the principles of behaviour that one should apply when sending or replying to email messages; also known as the code of conduct for sending mails.
Email etiquette is dependent on who we are writing- Friends & Relatives, Partners, Customers, Superior or Subordinates.
Although the mode of communication keeps evolving daily, emails are definitely not going out of date anytime soon.
It is important to ensure that one is equipped with the proper email etiquette as it is a form of personal branding; either for an individual or an organization.
Practising proper email etiquette using the following tips will guarantee an effective communication channel.
- Professional Email Address– Always use an official/company email address for all official electronic correspondences. Never use an overly personalized email address for official communication. It should have a full name of the sender. Eg Harry Lane email@example.com. Avoid nicknames such as firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com etc.
- Subject– This is one of the most important elements of an email. understand that the Subject line in your email will determine if your recipients will read your email or not. Ensure that the subject line is meaningful, relevant, concise and catchy.
- To, CC, BCC (You, Who and Whom)- Know the difference between To, CC, and BCC in an email.
- To: In this section, only put the contacts of the person (s) whom you want to read your email.
- CC (Carbon Copy): Put the contacts of the person(s) that you do not expect to reply to the email but that needs to be informed.
- BCC (Blind Carbon Copy): Use this for group-emails when you do not want to reveal the entire recipients of an email. Be careful when using BCC as it can be considered unprincipled on some occasions.
- Body of Text– Always start your email by greeting your recipient. Use professional and respectful greetings followed by the recipient’s first or last name. Avoid the use of lay information greetings in your formal emails, such as Hey, Bro, Buddy etc. State the purpose of your email briefly and proceed to ask for a call to action (have a meeting, respond, confirm etc) Lastly, say thanks in anticipation of the reply.
- Closing Salutation– Always end your official emails with a polite, professional and friendly closing remark. Some good examples are: “Best Regards”, “Best Wishes”, “Sincerely”, “Thank You”, “Respectfully”.
- Email Signature-This is your personal branding tool, make it fluid and flexible for different situation. Do not use initials. Use tagline and links where they can take a look at the services you offer. No jargon, no cliché.
- Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation– Always do a final and thorough spelling and grammar check of your email messages before sending. This will give you a chance to review your spelling and grammar, general structure, working, and coherence of your emails. Punctuation is really important and if not used or misused, it can change the whole meaning and purpose of your sentences and intentions.
- Size Matters – Be mindful of size when including email attachments. the standard size should not exceed ten Mb (10MB). Some organizations have email filter criteria ( keywords, explicit material etc), thence block and bounce email messages bigger than 10Mb. When trying to send attachments bigger than the standard size, it is always a good idea to inform with your recipients that you are planning to send them oversized attachments and confirm they are able to receive them.
- Timely Response– As a professional, you need to provide timely feedback to your recipient clients or customers. Allocate regular planned intervals for checking, reviewing and responding to your emails.
- Reply/Reply-All – Understand the difference between the reply or reply-all option. The Reply option responds to a single recipient in a mail; while the Reply-All option responds to the entire recipients of a mail.
In conclusion, be aware of cultural differences and sensitivities, especially when emailing people from other cultures. Maintain privacy and be careful about sharing private or confidential company information by emails. Restrain from getting emotional when sending or replying an email; as emails serve as written legal evidence and can be used against you.