When it comes to business communication in 2021, email is still the tool of choice. Whether employees correspond with each other, clients, or potential customers, email is still king, with 89% of Americans checking email at least once a day and 21% checking their email more than 5 times a day.
So, how can you make sure your email etiquette is up to par in 2021?
- Be Direct – Email doesn’t allow for a tone to be considered, so it’s important to get your point across directly and appropriately. When creating a subject line, make sure it explains what’s inside the email while still piquing enough interest to get someone to open. Choose a subject line that addresses an issue or concern of the recipient(s), encouraging them to open.
- Use a Professional Email Address – Your email address should include your name. You might still enjoy a cold brew as a professional, but using the email you created in college (firstname.lastname@example.org) doesn’t convey professionalism.
- Click “Reply All” Appropriately – We’ve all been there, either as the recipient or sender. For example, do you work at a company that provides a lunch menu? Think of everyone in your company getting an email with lunch options for the day. It’s almost cringe-worthy when someone hits reply all and lets everyone in the organization know their order. However, there will be situations where reply all makes sense, especially if there is a discussion regarding a particular project where everyone needs to be kept in the loop.
- Use Exclamation Points Sparingly – Don’t yell at people, and don’t overdo it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to communicate excitement, but there’s no need to put multiple exclamation points at the end of a sentence. It might come across as overly emotional or professionally inappropriate.
- Know Your Audience – Understand who is receiving your email. You should know things like their culture and humor. Remember, email can’t convey tone and doesn’t allow you to include facial expressions. Your humor might not match the humor of someone you’re writing to. You don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable.
- Proofread, Proofread, Proofread – This shows your dedication to details and might alleviate an embarrassing situation. Imagine sending your boss an email to let them know you’re running late. Instead of saying running a bit behind, you write running a big behind. What if you are a boss sending an email to your team reminding them about a meeting? Instead of writing, please be on time, you send please be intimate. Both situations can be embarrassing.
- Spell Recipient’s Name Correctly – Double-check the name of the person you are sending to. Is it Sarah with or without an “h”? Maggie with an “ie” or “y”? Stephen with a “ph” or “v”? If you offend someone right off the bat, the rest of the email may be read with annoyance or not read at all.
- Send to the Right Person – Want to write something specifically for your boss or, better yet, not for your boss’s eyes? Imagine your boss’s name is Daniel, and a colleague’s name is David. As you type “Da” into the “To” line, make sure the correct email populates.
- Remember Emails Have Legs – Anything put in writing and easy to forward is not confidential, so write accordingly. It’s safe to assume that others will see your email. Don’t write anything you don’t want everyone in your organization, and possibly those outside your organization, to see.
What email tips have you fallen victim to, or what etiquette would you recommend? Join the conversation on LinkedIn and check out How to Create & Grow a Remote-Work Culture.