The entire world is shrinking into an online niche, and everything is finding its place online. In a rapidly digitizing world, email etiquette is gaining more importance than ever before.
What’s that one thing that pisses you the most about an email? I think when I see an email with many different fonts used here and there, without a proper format or uniformity, I get pissed off. There are several other things about emails that go wrong as well. Emails are one of the most widely used means of communication. Plus, it’s a form of written communication so, it’s documented. I fail to understand how people can make so many mistakes while writing emails.
Emails are essentially like a one-on-one meeting with another person. And just like you follow some basic mannerisms when you meet somebody, you follow certain etiquette when you send out an email. When I joined TCS, the first thing I was taught was how to write an email. A proper email. It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to write an email, but as I was taught email etiquette, I realized that I knew less about it than I’d thought.
It is always good to know more about things that we use so frequently in our lives. Here are some of the most important things to follow when you write an email. We call them email etiquette.
This looks like a very trivial part of the email but it is actually one of the most important things. I never like emails which do not greet me. Nobody does. And I like to see emails that end with a proper sign off. Not the ones which end abruptly. And, when you greet somebody in your emails, you have to always see who it is. If I am sending an email to the head of my department, it cannot start with ‘Hey Daniel, how are you doing?’ It has to look formal. The same goes with the sign offs. It is always safe to use something like ‘Warm Regards,’ especially for a business, or more formal, email.
The Level of Formality
We all know there are two types of emails: formal and informal. However, the degree of formality changes from email to email. Even if it’s a business email, the level of formal language use changes depending on the topic of the email and the audience. Sometimes, it is good to relax your language a bit and send out a casual email to your team. However, depending on the seriousness of the matter, the tone of the email should change.
Email is a mode of communication. When you send an email to someone, you just don’t want it to be read, you want to hear back. How many of us like emails which are nothing but robotic manuals, without emotions? One basic etiquette to writing emails is that your emails should be conversational. You need to start a conversation and then give out the rest of the information.
The format of an email says a lot about the tone of the email. It tells you the mood of the email and conveys things left unsaid. For instance, using capital letters in your email can be interpreted as you shouting at the other person. Highlighting a word or sentence with a bold font means high importance is to be given to that part. Using red fonts in business emails isn’t considered appropriate. The use of colors and fonts in your emails should be subtle, uniform and should convey politeness and an overall calm tone.
There are some basic things to know while sending attachments via emails. It is alright if it’s a small attachment. But, when the size is big, it is always good to ask the other person if it is ok to send a big file. Another thing, especially if you are sending out a marketing email, is that you should not attach files just because you can. Always consider that not everybody would have the software to download your attachment. And, always add attachments that are going to be of some use to the person you are sending it to.
Most of us do not bother editing our emails before sending them. I think it is mainly that we are sending emails so frequently that it doesn’t feel important to edit them. Editing, though, is the most important check point before you hit send. Once you’re done writing your email, just go through it, and make necessary changes. You will find things to alter. Make it a habit. It is always good to proofread before sending.
I see so many emails every day with incorrect grammar and punctuation. And the moment I spot a mistake, it turns me off. You cannot afford to send an email without checking for proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. With autocorrect, grammar and spell check, you can always play it smart. But I still see grammatical mistakes very frequently. An email full of errors is a big no no.
Another thing that is very annoying about emails is when someone sends you an email, you reply back and then they never get back to you. You wait for days, follow up and, still, you never hear back from them. Good email etiquette says that you should always respond promptly. The way you respond shows your level of sincerity and attention towards the subject.
Email etiquette is a deep subject. Other than these basic elements, there are a lot of things to keep in mind before your message flies from your mailbox. Writing an email might sound like a very easy and unimportant task, but the better your emails, the higher your chances are of creating better relations with your superiors, subordinates, clients, and prospects.
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