Emails serve as the predominate form of communication between modern professionals and the rest of the world. Our business relationships depend on the effectiveness of our emails, and just like everything else we put out into the world, our email style contributes to our own personal brand.
Are you doing everything possible to make the best impression with your emails, or are you letting your professional etiquette fall to the wayside?
Here is some often-overlooked email etiquette:
Your subject line decides if someone is going to read your email in the first place. Make it as specific as possible. If you need something from them, indicate that in your subject line. Instead of “Project Information” use “Information Needed: Project Deadline Today”.
Also, make sure your subject line stays relevant. We often get in the habit of just hitting “Reply” and we end up replying to the same email chain for days and have changed topics ten different times. If you need to change topics, start a new email. This makes things much easier for everyone when they need to go back and search for an email later.
There are so many details that go into sending an email. Do I hit “Reply” or “Reply All”? Who do I send the email to directly and who do I Carbon Copy? Is it ok to Blind Carbon Copy anyone?
Reply All if it is necessary information for the entire group. A Reply All to ten people that just says “Thanks Jane!” is generally annoying and takes up space in people’s inboxes as well as their time. In this instance, reply directly to Jane and tell her thank you. Most importantly, know which selection you choose. Nothing is more embarrassing than a Reply All to a large group when the email was intended for one person’s eyes.
Next question – am I using the CC and BCC options correctly?
Send your email to those from whom you need a response. The Carbon Copy option is for those who need to be kept in the loop—no action is required of them. For the most part, the use of Blind Carbon Copy in the workplace is not appropriate. A BCC has the tendency to look like the grown up version of tattling. The appropriate use of a BCC is when you’re sending an informational email to a large group and don’t want to give out 50 email addresses to people who may not know one other. When in doubt, just carbon copy.
There are some professionals receiving hundreds of emails every day. Therefore, brevity is always your friend. This doesn’t mean being abrupt or rude. It means taking others’ time into consideration when emailing them. Don’t make someone read multiple paragraphs of non-pertinent information to finally get to the information they need.
That fun font you’re using in your email or in your signature is not actually fun – it’s unprofessional. Stick to Arial or Times New Roman. Also, remember to stick to black—it’s professional and easy to read.
PICK UP THE PHONE
There is so much technology in the workplace, we could probably get through some work days using only email and never picking up the phone. However, there are some times when an email just won’t suffice. When we email, we lose facial expressions, body language, and voice tone. Make sure you’re aware when these moments arise. You can never go wrong with an old school telephone call!
We hope this crash course in email etiquette will make you a more effective communicator in your workplace. We found so much great information on the topic. To check out more, click here, here, or here.