10 Tips To Elevate your Email Etiquette
August 9, 2019
By: Dennis Ensing
Countless technological advances have revolutionized the ways we can communicate in the digital age. Email, one of the earliest forms of online communication, remains relevant and powerful in the workplace but despite its significant history as a pervasive form of online communication, business email etiquette is not a given.
Here are our top 10 tips to ensure the emails you send will be opened, read and even responded to:
- Make the subject concise, explanatory, and timeless. Use logical key words in the subject that will make it easy to find in a month or a year.
- Clearly state your purpose in the first or second sentence. Don’t make recipients hunt through the mail to find out what you need or what needs to happen next.
- Most emails should be concise. If you find yourself writing a long email, consider whether a brief intro email with a document link (to Box or Drive) or document attachment could work. The purpose of the email is to request review or input.
- If adding an attachment doesn’t improve the length of your email, consider using a different medium for your message. If there is a significant amount of information to cover, sometimes a phone call, Slack or meeting will more effectively bring your audiences to a shared understanding.
- Minimize the number of people you are sending to and CCing. Sending emails to too many people can create a bystander effect, wherein each recipient thinks that somebody else will tackle the action items. Consequently, they simply don’t get done.
- Never BCC. Ever. Comparable to allowing somebody outside of a conversation to eavesdrop on it, avoiding the use of BCC altogether will effectively preserve your integrity and avoid unpleasantness.
- Only write stuff you would be comfortable having read in public. Be prepared and protect yourself in case an issue arises by assuming every digital thing you write at work will eventually become public.
- Email follow ups can be helpful reminders, but don’t be needy. Before you follow up, make sure reasonable time has passed. Amount of time can vary depending on your relationship with the individual and the urgency of the subject matter, but a good rule of thumb is to wait at least a few business days.
- On the flip side of Tip #8, respond in a timely manner. If you are too busy to respond to the detailed questions or requests in the email, send a notification email to provide an approximate time they should expect your full reply.
- Be careful with confidential information, especially if you are forwarding an email history to a new recipient. Attachments can be accidentally included, and the full conversation history may not be relevant or suitable for the new recipient.
By following these 10 tips, you’ll not only preserve working relationships and your own integrity… you’ll get stuff done!