Even though email can be a real time saver, it is still a form of written correspondence. Business emails should be written with the same formality and etiquette as a business letter.
- State the subject in the “subject” box.
- Start with a salutation like Dear… or Hello… or Greetings…
- Emails should be brief and to the point.
- Don’t send sensitive information by email. Accidents do occasionally happen.
- It’s easy to whip off a quick email, but remember to pay attention to spelling and grammar so that you are clearly understood.
- Do not use all capital letters in an e-mail message: it comes across as shouting.
- If you are sending an email to a group, and the individuals do not need to know who else is receiving the e-mail, use the “blind copy” box to type the email addresses. This prevents people’s e-mail addresses from being sent to others.
- Your e-mail signature should include: your name, title, company name, company telephone number, your direct line and fax number.
- When e-mailing different time zones, be clear about dates and times.
- Address people as Mr. or Ms. unless they specify a different title in their signature.
- Respond to e-mails in a timely manner. Either right away or, if it will take longer to obtain information, within 48 hours reply that it will take longer to get the required information.
- Business email addresses should come across professional and reflect your industry and position.
- Be respectful of other people’s time; do not send junk-mail, chain letters or jokes.
Personal emails can be more flexible in format and content although etiquette is still important. Remember to use your manners like you would in a verbal conversation. Things like please and thank you can make a big difference in an e-mail. No matter what the topic, always be considerate of the person you are writing to. Also, remember that emails sometimes end up in the wrong inbox and are unintentionally read by the wrong person. Don’t include content you might regret someone else reading. Manners matter, no matter what that format – verbal, hand-written or electronically.