What’s in an email? All too often, parties neglect the parameters surrounding good communication, bonding and rapport. Whether it’s business or social, the attitudinal behaviours displayed in a typical person-to-person scenario should ideally be carried over into other mediums as appropriate. This helps to maintain momentum and further the opportunity for an ongoing relationship. In addition to these behaviours, there are other necessary actions that parties should be paying close attention to.
Inc.com identified 25 key tips for mastering the art of email etiquette. Here are a handful of them:
1. Only discuss public matters. We’ve all heard the stories about a “private” e-mail that ended up being passed around to the entire company, and in some cases, all over the Internet. One of the most important things to consider when it comes to e-mail etiquette is whether the matter you’re discussing is a public one, or something that should be talked about behind closed doors. Ask yourself if the topic being discussed is something you’d write on company letterhead or post on a bulletin board for all to see before clicking “send.” —Judith Kallos,
author of E-Mail Etiquette Made Easy, E-Mail: The Manual, and E-Mail: A Write It Well Guide
2. Briefly introduce yourself. Do not assume the person receiving your e-mail knows who you are, or remembers meeting you. If you are uncertain whether the recipient recognizes your e-mail address or name, include a simple reminder of who you are in relation to the person you are reaching out to; a formal and extensive biography of yourself is not necessary. —Peggy Duncan, personal productivity expert and author of Conquer Email Overload with Better Habits, Etiquette, and Outlook 2007
3. Don’t “e-mail angry.” E-mailing with bad news, firing a client or vendor, expressing anger, reprimanding someone, disparaging other people in e-mails (particularly if you’re saying something less than kind about your boss) are all major no-no’s. Because e-mail can seem so informal, many people fall into this trap. Always remember that e-mail correspondence lasts forever. —Lindsey Pollak, career and workplace expert, e-mail etiquette consultant, and author of Getting From College to Career
4. Use exclamation points sparingly. The maximum number of exclamation points in a business e-mail? One. Otherwise, you risk looking childish and unprofessional. —Pollak
5. Be careful with confidential information. Refrain from discussing confidential information in e-mails such as someone’s tax information or the particulars of a highly-sensitive business deal. Should the e-mail get into the wrong person’s hands, you could face serious – even legal – repercussions. —Peter Post, director of the Burlington, Vermont-based Emily Post Institute, which offers etiquette advice and answers to manners questions such as wedding etiquette, parenting issues and table manners.
For the complete list of tips, visit Inc.com.