Email has become the number one communication device in business today. A blessing and a curse, it can help you stay organized, remember details, speed up processes and get you into a lot of trouble. Here are 10 email etiquette rules you should follow to maintain your professionalism and keep you out of hot water.
1. Using an appropriate email address. If you aren’t issued a company email and you use an email program like Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc., don’t use an overly cute, sexy or juvenile name. Hottie5000 might be fine for your personal account, but not appropriate for business.
2. Your email messages are not private. The Internet is a big, big virtual world and anything you send out into it is no longer private. Rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t say it in a crowd or show that picture to your mother, don’t send it over email.
3. Your company email belongs to the company, not you. This is an important detail for you to remember and for you to remind your employees. The company owns those messages and that’s the bottom line. Don’t use your company email for anything other than company business.
4. Do not use “texting” style when writing an email. “OMG ur not goin 2 send that report r u?” This is not an acceptable way of communicating unless you are a 13 year-old girl. That goes for texting as well ladies!
5. Please and Thank You. Try to get one of the two in each email. There is an opportunity to thank someone each time you speak with them. Take it.
6. All Caps. Don’t use all caps unless you are trying to make a very strong point - it implies that you are shouting.
7. Salutations. Be respectful of people you are emailing for the first time. Use Mr., Ms., or Dr. the first time you address them.
8. Don’t go attachment crazy. Attaching your company logo to your signature is perfectly acceptable, but don’t attach every smiley face you like, the logo of your favorite baseball team, a picture of your kid, etc. It takes up space and annoys the receiver.
9. Brevity. Always get to the point and get there quickly. If needed, it helps to bullet point out the questions you need answered or the points you are trying to make. Try to keep the email on topic.
10. Proofread. Always read through the email once or twice before you hit send so you can determine if it flows well, if there are too many details or not enough, and that the email is polite and clear.