How often do you receive an email that makes you want to smack the face of the sender? If you say never, I’d say you are a saint. One that lies!
In my professional career of over 10 years, I have seen different types of email habits and styles. Some make me angry, others make me laugh. Mine was poor when I started. But time, exposure and experience made me realise how to improve it.
There are tonnes of very useful articles and posts out there talking about email etiquette. Here are just a few from my personal experience that I believe can be useful to almost anybody:
- NEVER send an email without a subject line. Your excuse may be that you are very busy, but it takes less than 10 seconds to type a subject line. Give the person you expect to read your email (and perhaps respond) some context before they open the email.
- ALWAYS try starting a new email with ‘Hi, Hello, Dear’ etc. Remember, you are talking to humans who respond well to greetings (consciously or sub-consciously). I’ve seen people say ‘Hi, Hello’ to Siri or Cordona or Google voice commands but wonder why they wouldn’t say that in their emails to humans.
- DO NOT send emails without signatures. Most email clients/apps/tools allow you to set default signatures both from your computer and mobile. So why not just turn it on with a simple signature like ‘Regards, your AWESOME name’? It takes hardly 60 seconds to enable this. Add 60 seconds more if you are on the other side of tech-savviness.
- AVOID sending one word replies like ‘OK’ or ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ whenever you can. Some times, one word replies can be perceived as being rude. Instead, just try saying, ‘OK, name of the sender’ or ‘Yes, sounds good’ for example. Again, just a couple of extra seconds will not hurt you.
- REFRAIN from using TOO MANY uppercase words in your email or exclamation marks (!!!!!!!!) or question marks (?????????????????) to express your unhappiness or anger or shock. I’m not saying don’t use it at all but try limiting its use – or use it only occasionally so it has a proper impact. If most of your emails, and most parts of those emails, are filled with words in upper case and or too many expressions, the essence is lost and your purpose may not be achieved.
- THINK twice before CCing the world and or before hitting the REPLY ALL button. Is it really necessary for so many people to know whatever it is that you want to say? If you can keep some people out, keep them out. Spare them a couple of minutes so they do something more useful than reading and deleting your email.
- STOP using SMS lingo. ‘U r not txtng ur frnd on whatsapp’. You are writing an email, most probably for professional reasons, so take time to spell the words out in their entirety.
- CORRECT yourself or the sender – only if you know they may not take offense – if they fail to follow the above or other such etiquette that you find useful and necessary.
If you are the boss and or want to make your emails sound like you are the boss, feel free to omit these suggestions. But bear in mind: you may not have a lot of fans for your emails and perhaps you don’t care. The choice is yours.
While I do my best to stay within these boundaries, I’m human enough to admit that occasionally I drift away too.
Can you relate to any of these? Do you agree or disagree with me? Are there any other etiquette that you’d like to share?