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Business E-mail Etiquette

Even though e-mail has become the one of the most widely used forms of business communication, many people still use inappropriate e-mail practices, making their communication seem unprofessional and sloppy. Use the following tips to create the most effective business e-mail you can:

Use the subject line properly. Avoid using a generic subject such as “Hello” or “Information” or even worse, leaving it blank altogether. Using a specific and meaningful subject will help both you and the recipient better categorize and organize the e-mail.

Always begin with a greeting such as “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Mr. Smith”. Jumping into your message without a formal greeting may come across as aggressive or overly casual.

Always use proper grammar and punctuation. Remember that an e-mail is simply an electronic form of a letter. You would never neglect proper grammar or punctuation in a business letter, yet people often feel it is okay when writing an e-mail. Always run a spell check and double check your writing. For very important e-mails, print a copy and read it over on paper—for most people, it is easier to catch a mistake on paper than it is on a computer screen.

Never write in all capital letters. USING ALL CAPS IS THE ELECTRONIC VERSION OF SHOUTING. You should also avoid initialisms (e.g. “lol” “brb” or “ttyl”) as well as smiley faces and emoticons. While these can add a personal touch in day-to-day communication, they have no place in a business e-mail.

Tune in next week when we’ll conclude our e-mail etiquette series with more tips on how to write a great business communication that gets results!

For more great tips on clear speech and great communication, check out our website at www.corporatespeechsolutions.com!

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