Email Etiquette

Emailing is an important and common form of communication at work. In some cases, emails are even used as contractually-binding agreements. Done well, email could be a useful tool but communicated badly, it is highly susceptible to misinterpretation. To avoid unnecessary frustration, here are some email etiquette to take note of.

Email Expedient?

Think who is this for and what is the reason for writing? Is it someone you could be casual with, or is it an important client you wish to clinch a deal with? Ask yourself if your purpose for writing is better achieved on the phone or in person rather than in an email.

If it's a sales pitch, you would want it to be short, sweet and to the point. You might probably like to include a call to action like a meeting to seal the deal rather than sending a lengthy email that illustrates why they should buy your product.

On the other hand, there are situations where face-to-face communication would be more appropriate than emailing. An example would be firing someone. Also, never send an angry email. For all you know, the recipient could read negatively into your message and use it against you.

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What does your email tell about you? Sure, you might be a popular funnyman with your friend but do you want your business partners to think you can't be taken serious? Get a formal work email address. Your full name or variations with your initials will do just fine.

Be Courteous

Be polite and cordial, if not amicable. If you have corresponded with the recipient before, you could start off with "I hope you are well" or on the first-name basis. Never drop the honorifics unless the other party does so.

Emoticons or smiley faces are fine with people you are on close terms with but words in upper case make you sound like you are shouting – AVOID THAT AT ALL COST! Most importantly, please remember your P's and Q's. Thank you.

Lastly, give your emails an once-over before sending and look out for the overall tone of the email. Remove any words that might come across as rude or demanding. The thesaurus might prove its use here.

Pls dun b 2 casual

Widely understood abbreviations such as Mr for "Mister" or FYI for "For your information" are fine but using U instead of you, pls instead of please and thx instead of thanks make you sound too casual.

While some might not mind, others might think that you don't think that they are worth your time typing a proper email. Even if it is true, it is always better to stay on the safe side and avoid offending others. Be professional.

Check your grammar and spelling!

Some email providers include an automatic spell checker. Otherwise you might wish to copy and paste your email text into a Microsoft Word document before you send it out. Be sure to set the language preferences and setting in your software to British English for local companies, or American English for others such as MNCs from the States.

Final Note

Leave the recipients' emails to the last, after proofreading your email and when it's ready to be sent. This would keep you from sending an incomplete or unready email, especially to important persons.

Remember: Emails could be forwarded and re-forwarded to the entire office or even around the world. Think before you write and think again before you hit the send button.

Related link: Online Thesaurus
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