by Mike Song – Email Etiquette Training Expert
Email Etiquette and netiquette skills are becoming more crucial as the work world grows ever more virtual. Throughout your career your professional image will be defined by the effectiveness and appropriateness of the email you send. Most organizations lack effective email etiquette training, rules, and guidelines.
We’ve conducted over 35,000 business etiquette surveys with our training clients. Here are 4 Email Etiquette – Netiquette Tips based on our research:
1. Send Less: Your first commandment is to remember Thy Recipient is Busy. Drowning your colleagues in email slows everyone down. Cull the length of your email by pruning all unnecessary content. Reduce outgoing email so that you are projecting only necessary info to colleagues.
2. Be Clear: Write email for tired eyes. Every message should be clear and easily actioned. Your key point should be stated up front in one crisp sentence. Consider attending an effective email writing class like Get Control! of Email to hone your email communication skills. Every message you send should be easy and even fun for your reader to act upon. Greet your readers warmly as they need to know that you are not be curt by keeping things short and sweet.
3. Be Positive and Professional: Picture every message you send on the front page of tomorrow’s paper. Omit anything that sounds unprofessional or innapropriate. If there is an ethical question or a comment that may be in a grey area — I recommend having a face-to-face discussion with your supervisor instead of writing an email. Every message you send is company property and can be used in a court of law against you or your organization.
I would also refrain from sending email when you are emotional or have had a few drinks. The same goes for tipsy texting! Always wait 24 hours before sending an email that expresses anger, fear, or deep disapointment in a colleague’s performance. If someone is messing up — try to find a positive spin. For example, mentioning the career benefits of refraining from a poor business habit.
Avoid hypothetical musings, vague threats, and statements that you haven’t fact checked. Good business etiquette means keeping a positive, professional tone, to every message you send.
4. Follow These Netiquette Rules: Treat your computer as if it was a poster on the wall in a public place. You never know when someone will walk by and glance at your screen. Remember that web meetings often involve a view of your computer and this could prove embarrassing if you are on the wrong websites. Violent, sexual, profane, or provacative content should not be surfed on work computers.
Also remember that pop up instant messages or appointments can appear at inopportune moments so think carefully about all the information that you manage and move on your computer. Coach friends and family to send you messages that will make colleagues smile — not grimace.
Your surfing history can be recovered by IT and new technologies will eventually track every word you type. So keep your on-line activities as clean as a whistle and you’ll sleep well every night.