Email communication is something that practically everyone does on a daily basis. It’s convenient, fast, and accessible. While personal communication has mostly moved from email to different messaging apps, the number one place for online business communication is email – which is why it’s important that you do it in a professional manner. Because written communication is often harder to interpret than face-to-face communication, there are some key email etiquette rules that everyone should follow, in order to establish a respectful and professional environment.
Don’t Expect An Immediate Answer
Unless you’ve previously discussed it with the person you’re emailing, or you’re working on an extremely time-sensitive project with them, don’t expect an immediate answer, especially if you send it outside of normal business hours. Most people don’t mind if they receive a work-related email over the weekend, according to a survey by Everyday-Courtesy.com, as long as there’s no pressure to answer until Monday. Calling, texting, or trying to contact the recipient in any way other than through the email you already sent is something you should never do if not agreed upon beforehand. Even during business hours, it’s more than likely that the person you’re sending the email to has other work to do, so have patience and work on something else yourself until they get back to you. That said, if you sent the email at the start of the workday, and it’s nearing the end of the business day, it’s ok to send a quick follow-up email checking in, and simply asking for confirmation that the email was received.
Write A Proper Introduction
Most people know that the title of the email needs to be indicative of what the email is about, and that holds true. However, the way you start your email is important as well. You want to choose the appropriate greeting – and that will depend on how formal the email is. If it’s very formal, writing “Dear, full name” is really the only option, while a “Hello, full name” is a great way to address someone you have a formal business relationship with that isn’t too bound by protocols. After that, you want to state what you’re writing about. Whether that’s to ask them something, check up on a project, or just a quick note, you need to get this out at the beginning of the email. You don’t want to make the recipient read through the entire email in order to find out why you’re sending it to them in the first place.
Just like having a good introduction to your email is important, the way you end it can dictate how it’s going to be received as well. When composing your email, the closing will determine how fast they’re going to respond, it will set the tone for the email itself, and leave them with a positive impression of you as well. Formal emails call for “sincerely” or “regards.” If you’re writing to someone you don’t know very well, phrases like “Best regards,” or “Thanks in advance” are great alternatives. But if you send an informal email to someone you have a positive relationship with, “Best,” or simply “Thanks” is great. Just like you have to use the recipient’s full name when starting the email, you should put down your full name when closing it. The only exception to writing a closing is if you’ve already exchanged a couple of emails throughout the day, and you feel like it’s not necessary to include it – however, you need to carefully consider this, as it can easily be seen as rude if you decide to skip it.
Long Emails Need Paragraphs
If you have a lot to send someone, don’t try to fit everything in one super long paragraph. This makes your email easier to read and digest, and also shows that you respect their time by not making them sit down to re-read your email a few times in order to ensure they’ve got it right. Break up the text into logical paragraphs, and use headers to quickly guide them along as well. Oversized paragraphs can also be a bit overwhelming and make the person feel like they might miss the point – and you don’t want that. Formating your email like this is generally considered more professional, and you’ll also make life easier for the people who have to go over it later.
If you’re sending an email with a business proposition, you don’t want it to be littered with spelling and grammar mistakes. The very least your recipients will expect is for it not to look like you just dashed it off in ten minutes – this is why proofreading and spellchecking your email before sending it out is so important. You can even use extension grammar tools to help you out with this, but don’t rely on it too much – even the best ones are still no substitute for the human eye. If you’re sending a friendly email, it’s alright to skip this step – nobody expects you to be perfect all the time.
Don’t Use All Caps
Using all caps is the equivalent of yelling at someone – which means that there’s almost never an appropriate time to use it. If you want to stress something, either structure your sentences and paragraphs so that the reader’s attention is naturally drawn to it, or use the underline or italic text option if you feel like it needs to be more emphasized. The only time where it could be acceptable to use all caps is if you’re writing “congratulations” or something similar in a very informal email. Other than that, stick to normal text formatting. On the same note – avoid using too many exclamation marks! You should never put more than one at the end of the sentence – even though you might put three in a row (!!!) when talking to friends, this is never appropriate for business emails. In addition, never use more than one per paragraph, as it can set the wrong tone – similarly to how all-caps does.
Using email in today’s world is necessary – which means it’s important to know how to write an email in an appropriate manner. These 6 rules will make your emails more effective and can help you create a professional and lasting impression – which is what you want to do when sending an email. The only exception here might be if you’re sending out a casual, friendly email to someone you know well, but even then it’s still very important that the way you write reflects well on yourself.