Know your Email Etiquette

Last week we talked about the journey of an email and the importance of crafting a friendly reminder email to your clients and customers. You can see that blog here. This led us to think about email etiquette and how so many professionals don’t actually know proper email etiquette. In this blog we’ll start off with a story about a young girl, we’ll call her Ashley, who worked in an attorney recruitment firm.

Ashley was 20 years old and working as a Secretary. She sat at the front desk to an office of 15 recruiters and attorneys. Although Ashley had been working since she was 15 years old in other positions that included customer service, this would be her first experience in a formal “downtown office” setting. After working in this office for more than 8 months Ashley learned how bad her boss was at some of the basic characteristics such as communication through email, managing the staff in the office, and communicating with Ashley about her tasks. One day Ashley got what we would call “fed up” and in a moment of high emotion sent her boss an email that explained how frustrated she was at her lack of communication with not only herself but with others in the office. Ashley learned an important lesson that day. What might sound a certain way in your head or out of your mouth does not sound the same in an email?

Needless to say, Ashley’s boss did not take the email very well. Ashley was invited into her boss’ office for a lecture about her email etiquette and her place in the office. Many of us probably wish we could say what we feed to our bosses without the repercussions of getting lectured, or worse, fired. We certainly wouldn’t encourage you to do what Ashley did but unfortunately many professionals, regardless of age, have to learn email etiquette the hard way which usually results in the loss of a client, customer, employee, or job. It’s amazing to think that most of U.S. employees spend a quarter of their time at work communicating through emails every single day, according to The Business Insider. Here are some of our tips and tricks for you to remember the next time you craft your email, regardless of the subject matter or recipient:

  1. Every email should include a clear and direct Subject Line. Especially if the email is important or urgent, a subject line can determine when someone will read your email.
  2. Don’t email angry. Very much like Ashley’s story, when you get angry or frustrated about something wait until you are calm to send an email to address the situation.
  3. Use exclamation points sparingly. This is probably one of the most common mistakes made in everyday emails. Exclamation points do sound like either yelling or excitement and if you’re not trying to express either then don’t use it.
  4. Use professional salutations. While “Hey guys or Hey” is fine for talking with your friends, when you are communicating with other professionals use formal salutations such as “Hi or Hello”.
  5. Know that different cultures write and speak differently and keep that in mind as miscommunication is most common and can easily occur in written form.
  6. Respond in a timely manner. Regardless of the urgency of the email, even if the email is a “Pleasure meeting you” email, make sure to respond in a timely manner out of good courtesy.
We could keep going. There are so many things to keep in mind when crafting a good email but instead of listing the many, many courtesies of emails, check out more articles like this one here.  We hope you learned something like Ashley did!

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