Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tip #352: 10 Tips To Improve Your e-Mail Etiquette (Part 1 of 2)

10 Tips To Improve Your

e-Mail Etiquette (Part 1 of 2)


E-Mail has been and continues to be an integral staple of the business world. Numerous businesses rely on this technology to communicate internally, to contact clients and customers, to help market their business and to reach out to venders and suppliers. E-Mail has increased multi-tasking and efficiency in the business world to levels once thought unimaginable.

You Get What You Put In When It Comes To e-Mail.

Unfortunately, abbreviations, chat speak, all-capped text, and unnecessarily shortened words ("u" instead of "you") all spilled over from chat messengers to e-mails. This does not fly in the business world due to the formal and established guidelines of etiquette -- especially if you expect to be taken seriously.

With that in mind, we picked ten of the most common business e-mail etiquette faux pas. We begin with the first five tips below.

10 Tips To Improve Your e-Mail Etiquette (Tips 1-5):

Tip #1. Leave the "To" Field Blank: That is, leave the "To" field blank until you have completed the e-mail in totality. This may seem like an odd thing to do, but it could just prevent you from sending an incomplete e-mail, or sending an e-mail prematurely before giving yourself a chance to proof it one last time or, if you are including attachments, not forgetting to include them.

Tip #2. Subject Lines That Motivate: The subject line you use can make or break an e-mail -- especially when it is used by your sales and marketing team. Remember, your subject line needs to be a short, sweet and to-the-point summary of your e-mail. If your e-mail is internal, abbreviations can be agreed upon to make subject lines aid in efficiently. For example, including "" ("Action Required") in an e-mail subject line will convey urgency succinctly.

Click here to read the Purdue Owl Online Writing Lab's Guide To e-Mail Etiquette

Tip #3. Keep Your e-Mails Brief, Concise, And On Point: If someone wanted to read a novel, they would hop on Amazon.com or head to their local library. Therefore, when it comes to business e-mails, keeping things short is in your best inertest. That being said, write in bullet format as often as you can and keep your sentences and paragraphs concise and simple.

Tip #4. Mind Your Tone Or Attitude: So much of the verbal nuances that listeners can take cues from to understand sarcasm, light-heartedness, anger, or other emotional textures are lost in e-mail. While some people are more adept at reading tone in text, most people are not. So keep your e-mails as neutral sounding as possible to avoid misinterpretation.

Tip #5. Regard e-Mails As Business Letters: Unless you are dealing with a client, customer or recipient with whom you've had a long-standing relationship with, all early e-mails -- especially first time e-mails -- should be approached as though you are writing a business letter. Be professional, avoid abbreviations and do not use smiley faces.

Executive Summary: The prevalence of e-mail in today's business world has led to the degradation of e-mail etiquette. While the debate over informality versus formality is a subjective matter, in the business world it is safer to error on the side of formal, well-written e-mails that get right down to business in a concise manner. This is especially true of e-mails to new first-time prospects or clients, where humor, informality and spelling/grammar mistakes risk presenting you as sloppy.

Your Next Step: If you want to find out more about how Dale Carnegie® Training can make your business more effective, or need more information on this subject, please send us an e-mail at the address below.

P.S. Look for part two of our e-mail etiquette tips (tips 6 through 10) next week.

e-Tip Archive

Make it a great day!
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Bob Dickson, President
Dale Carnegie® Training of Western CT
(203) 723-9888

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