Important email etiquette rules to follow

You send so many emails out a day, but have you thought about the impression you might be giving off? Do your emails look and sound professional?

It can be very easy to forget about the simple things when sending an email. Not doing a spell check, forgetting a subject line or ‘waffling’ in your response can hurt your reputation and reflect poorly on your company.

Here are some tips that will help you avoid common pitfalls and make sure your email gets noticed quickly. 

Use a powerful email subject line
If you fail here, it is unlikely a recipient will open your email. Use simple and concise language that states exactly what the email content is about. A good rule of thumb is to not have this be longer than 140 characters, as people can get put off if the subject line is any longer. If you need a response from the recipient quickly, highlight this in the subject line as well.

Don’t write too much
It is not a good idea to add too many topics to one email. If you do, then something is bound to get lost and things will inevitably get forgotten. Don’t send something like an invoice with a load of  content such as top tips, payment details and anything that is not of particular relevance.

Use correct spelling and grammar
Never use abbreviations, acronyms or emoticons in emails that are sent outside of your office. It looks unprofessional and even if you have a relaxed relationship with the recipient, always assume that the email may be forwarded or viewed by someone else. An email with spelling mistakes and poor grammar will make you look either negligent or lazy.

Get to the point
No one wants to read reams of text in an email. Keep things concise and make sure all of the important points stand out. Use paragraphs to separate content and avoid the use of capital letters even if it is to make a point.

Be careful of your tone
Don’t make recipients perceive your words to be sarcastic or negative. Also, blunt statements or a curt response can make you seem aggressive and rude. If possible, close the email with something friendly like ‘Thank you for your time’ or ‘Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance’. This will leave a positive impression in the recipient’s mind.

End professionally
When you ‘sign off’, use an all-purpose phrase such as ‘Kind regards, or ‘Sincerely’. If you are having a more informal conversation, something like ‘Many thanks’ or even just your name is acceptable.

Always make sure that you use your standard company email signature and don’t modify it if you have that option. Don’t add things like motivational quotes like this US hospital employee who was ordered to remove ‘God Bless America’ from his email signature. No matter how good your intentions are, you will more than likely break your company’s brand guidelines and undermine your professionalism.