Email etiquette can have a major impact on workplace communication. When colleagues and clients read emails you send, they make assumptions about your professionalism, trustworthiness, competence, and more. These tips to improve your email etiquette will help you maintain a solid reputation within the C-suite while improving your communication skills.
1. Avoid Being Too Personal or Casual
Even if you are friendly with the people you work with, it is important to remember you are representing your organization when you send emails. Keep your communication professional and formal. For example, avoid discussing your personal life and overusing exclamation marks and emoticons. Also avoid using too much industry jargon, slang, and of course don’t use curse words.
2. Keep Emails Brief
Few people enjoy reading long emails. In general, emails should not be longer than 3 short paragraphs. Recipients will start to lose focus after that. If you have more to say than can be contained in a brief email, it is usually better to have the conversation in-person or over the phone. It also helps to read through the email before you send it. Are there sentences that aren’t necessary? Do you wait too long to reach the main point of the message?
3. Tell Recipients Who You Are
Unless you’re emailing someone that you work with daily, it is a good idea to introduce yourself at the start of an email message. It doesn’t need to be long. Just provide a short sentence giving your name and role. We often figure that if we met someone before, they know who we are. But in the professional world, it is easy to forget a name if you meet new people regularly.
4. Proofread Emails
Grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors are some of the fastest ways to lose credibility with your recipients. We have gotten used to relying on tools like spellcheck and autocorrect. While these tools are helpful, they are imperfect. Make sure you carefully review email messages before you click send to check that they are free of errors. It might take an extra minute or two, but it is better than having to explain confusing or embarrassing typos.
The etiquette you use when you write and send emails can say a lot about who you are as a professional. It’s important for your colleagues, managers, and clients to view you as organized, credible, and well-spoken. You can improve your email etiquette by practicing writing in a professional tone, keeping messages brief and to-the-point, introducing yourself to email recipients, and proofreading all of your messages before they go out.
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