Business Email Etiquette
Is your business email
etiquette as diligent as your letter writing?
email etiquette is fast becoming one of our most important skills. It is an
efficient, quick way of communicating with people and much less formal than
letter writing. However, email etiquette rules should be followed at all times
as this means of communication can reveal very quickly someone’s personality,
communication skills and attitude towards others.
In simple terms, your internet
etiquette reveals who you are. Something so simple can say so much.
Business email etiquette should be
given the same consideration to those of letter writing etiquette i.e. it
should be grammatically correct, addressed appropriately, spell checked and of
The way an email is addressed
should also be given some consideration. I prefer emails with a salutation of "Dear" or "Good
morning" followed by the recipient's name.
You should also refrain from using email as an opportunity to say something that you wouldn't say face to
face. Tempting it can certainly be, but again abiding by email etiquette rules
can save you, and others, a lot of hurt. I learnt the hard way!
As hard as it is, if you have something
negative/difficult to say to a colleague or client you should pick up the phone
that person face to face to discuss the issue.
On a positive note, email provides
you with the perfect in between of letter writing and speaking
on the phone if you apply certain email etiquette
can also be used to provide reports and recommendations to clients quickly and
efficiently (and eco-friendly) and it is a perfect opportunity to show your
ability to write and communicate well, as long as you follow the email
Do remember the
- Your writing is the only way of
conveying your message. You cannot provide facial expressions, hand gestures or
personality. So you need to ensure you choose your words carefully.
- Be wary of innuendos and double
meanings and ensure they can't be misinterpreted.
- Always use spell check (try
to enable this on your smart phone if you use one) and proof read it before you send it, if you
have grammar check as well even better. Without this you may make errors and could appear sloppy.
- Ensure any email you send has a
title to it. Have you ever tried searching for an email without one? If someone
sends you an email without one, reply with a title and avoid having an audit
trail in your sent box of "Re.Re.Re.".
- Write proper sentences, making sure
you capitalise titles and use correct grammar. Whilst email may be a quicker
form of communication it should still be written in the Queen's English. Text
in capitals reads like you are shouting and all lower case makes harder reading
and can look a little lazy.
- Use exclamation marks sparingly.
- Avoid chain mails, they can demonstrate a lack of maturity. What you do in your own time and
personal email is your choice but don't get involved on your work email.
- It is poor email etiquette to
abuse the Cc: button and Reply All: button.
- Answer all the questions on an
email in the order in which they were raised and state this at the beginning of
your reply. Use the same bulleting method as the sender so that there is no
question as to what you are answering. If you cannot reply to all the questions
tell the recipient which ones and when you will reply with the remaining
- Only use the words 'urgent' in the
subject line if it really is.
- Only use read and delivery receipts
if you are sending an email to someone who doesn't often check their mail. It
can be considered as a sign that you don't trust them!
- Remember to place your "out of
office" on when you are going away with details of when you will be back
and who to contact in your absence.
Finally, remember all emails are
traceable by IT even when you have deleted them from every folder you can find. So never say
anything you can't defend!
Other Business Etiquette Skills to Learn on this Site:
Business Meeting Etiquette
Business Negotiation Tactics
Business Phone Etiquette
Interview Thank You Letters
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