You can improve your email etiquette by following these steps
Image: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

You can improve your email etiquette by following these steps

17 Aug 2018

Emails are an important element of our professional lives, so it’s in your interest to brush up on your etiquette.

Business messaging services such as Slack have undoubtedly led to a decrease in the number of emails we send each day. However, it would be remiss to assume that the method of communication is totally in decline.

As such, you should consider whether your email etiquette is up to scratch.

The tone and appearance of your emails will create a distinct impression about the kind of professional you are. Often, email is your initial (and sometimes only) contact with a person, so this impression you create will really count.

Fortunately, it’s not that difficult to refine your email etiquette so that you come off in the best possible way.

Start from the beginning; your subject line should be brief, clear and to the point. It should have fewer than 30 characters – that way, it will be displayed in full on a smartphone. Avoid using words such as ‘important’ or ‘urgent’ unless it is a genuinely pressing matter. If you’re too liberal with those kinds of terms, you won’t be taken seriously.

Do use a courteous and clear greeting as an opening. ‘Hi’ is a good option that still maintains a degree of formality (‘Hey’, however, is arguably too informal). Use someone’s first name, as it is easy to glaze over a mass-sent and impersonal message.

It’s worth adding that you should ensure you have someone’s name spelled correctly before using it. A misspelled name will come across almost equally as impersonal as not including a name at all.

Make sure that your email contains good spelling and grammar, and proofread once you’ve finished writing. Plug-ins such as Grammarly are invaluable for helping to catch errors before you hit send.

Bullet points and numbered lists are also a good call, as they will help to get your point across succinctly. This is especially important if the email is a pitch or cold-call proposal.

If you need to include an attachment, try to keep them as small as possible unless unavoidable. You can compress or zip files. In certain cases, you could also send low-resolution images in lieu of high-resolution ones, but this isn’t always appropriate.

Another seemingly obvious tip, though worth mentioning, is that you shouldn’t send a corrupted or virus-laden file. Use a virus scanner before sending. Putting a Trojan horse on someone’s computer in the guise of a quarterly figures report doesn’t exactly scream ‘consummate professional’.

For more tips on perfecting your email etiquette, check out the infographic below brought to you by The Business Backer.

Infographic: The Business Backer

Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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