Email or electronic mail is a very quick business communication method. You can send direct messages to colleagues and clients or even discuss something with many people at the same time.
We all agree that the way we behave in email has potential to affect our reputation. Talking with email can be very different compared to speaking directly to people. When writing email, we can’t really express our face and body language. Carefully written email is very important in personal and professional communication. To sum up, here are 10 powerful tips in business email etiquette for best communication.
1. Start with a nice greeting
Pretty much similar to face-to-face conversation, a good email should start with greeting. We can use common greetings such as dear, hello or hi, followed by recipient’s name. Good morning and good afternoon can be used as proper greetings too.
2. Use descriptive and meaningful subject
Since email has been one of our main communication tools, our inboxes are being clogged by hundreds of emails a day. There’re also lots of spam that add to the list. That’s why writing a clear and descriptive subject line is crucial. Any email with obscure and unrelated subject will get trashed without being read.
3. Briefly introduce yourself
There are times when you need to email someone for the first time or you are responding to a sender for the first time. You know the recipient’s name, but you don’t know him personally. Simply introduce yourself to the person you’re reaching out to. Put your name, your position and company name before continuing to the main purpose of your email.
4. Clearly define your recipients
Business email are often shared to more than one recipients, so it’s important to clearly define which email addresses go on the “To” line and which ones go to “cc” and “bcc” lines. Of course, “To” line is for the main person we are communicating to, while “cc” is for the persons who need to stay in loop. “Bcc” line is for “confidential” person who need to know the message.
5. Write clear message and get to the point
Remember that you are not writing a story, but communicating business email. Long email tend to make the topic obscure and bored the recipients. The person reading your email shouldn’t have to gone through several paragraphs in order to figure out the point you’re asking. So, be clear and concise to state the purposes of your email.
6. Beware of grammatical errors
Whether you’re in hurry or not, there’s always a level of importance in business email. Wrong-typing could result in unprofessionalism and serious situation. Make sure to proofread your email messages and check for any grammatical errors before hitting the send button.
7. Be careful with confidential information
Since email is a practical communication tools, confidential information is highly sensitive to be written and being sent in email. Should the email get in the wrong hands, you could be having serious repercussions or even legal issues. So, it’s better to refrain from discussing confidential information in emails.
8. Be responsive in replying email
It is common practice that responsiveness is required in email conversation, especially business email. According to a survey of 1,500 people by mailtime.com, 52% of people who send work-related email expect to receive feedback between 12 to 24 hours. 97% of people cannot tolerate a week-long respond. However, the best practice is, reply promptly. Even replying in 12 hours will sometimes make you lose business.
9. Avoid using short form, emoticon and slang
Words like “4u” instead of “for you” or “gr8” instead of “great” is really not acceptable for business email. You shouldn’t use smiley face or emoticon as well, as they have potential to make you less professional.
10. Don’t forget your email signature
There’s an opening greeting and there should be a closing text too. Email signature works as a closing to your email, Use words like, thank you, best regards or sincerely, followed by your business information. Email signature often includes your name, company name, office address, phone number, email address and company’s social media profiles.
Your email message mirrors your reputation. If your email etiquette is poor, scattered and disorganized, it will make you look unprofessional. So, make the best of your email etiquette and always send a well-written email. It is one of your key to a successful business.
Wahidin Wong is a digital marketer. He is also a jazz and bossa lover.