In the U.S., most people earn around $36,000 a year. Each employee spends about a quarter of the workweek dealing with the hundreds of emails we all receive and send on a daily basis. Barbara Pachter, career coach and author, says despite our fixation on reply buttons, there are plenty of professionals who still do not know the best way to use email. As a result of the sheer number of messages we read and write each day, we may be more likely to make embarrassing errors–and those mistakes can lead to serious professional repercussions. In her book The Essentials of Business Etiquette, Patricia Pacher outlines the basics of modern email etiquette. Below we’ve compiled the most essential rules you should be aware of.
1. Include a clear, direct subject line.
Some of the good subject line examples include getting the meeting date changed, asking a quick question about your presentation, or suggesting an edit to the proposal. “People often decide whether to open an email based on the subject line,” says Pachter. The best one will let readers and customers know that you are addressing their concerns or addressing their problems.
2. Use a professional email address.
It is a good idea to use your company email address if you work for one. In the event you use a personal email account, whether you are self-employed or just like to use it occasionally for work-related correspondences, your choice of email address should be carefully considered, To ensure that the recipient knows who sent the email, you should always include your name in the email address. Email addresses from your grade school years (possibly remnants of your playing days) should never be used at work
3. Think twice before hitting “Reply all.”
There’s no point in reading emails from 20 people that have nothing to do with you. Many people receive notifications of new emails on their smartphones, or they see distracting pop-up messages on their computer screens, which make it difficult to ignore the emails. It is best to refrain from hitting the “Reply All” button unless you really need all recipients to receive the email, Pachter advises.
4. Include a signature block.
Make sure the reader knows a little about you, Pachter recommends. A typical resume would include your full name, title, and the company name, as well as contact information, which would include It is okay to include some publicity for yourself, but be careful not to hang out too long with sayings or artwork,” she says. “Use the same font, type size, and color as the rest of the email.
5. Use professional salutations.
She notes that you shouldn’t use informal language such as “hey guys,” “you guys,” or “hi folks.” The relaxed aspect of our writings shouldn’t translate into how you address your email. The salutation ‘Hey’ is known as a very informal greeting, and generally should not be used in a work environment. As well as Yo, who is not in the best of health. Instead of using hi or hello, use hi or hello.” She also advises against shortening people’s names. Unless you’re certain that he would prefer to be referred to by that name, say, “Hi Michael.”
6. Use exclamation points sparingly.
When using an exclamation point, use only one to convey excitement, says Pachter. Many people often overdo it and end their sentences with exclamation points. As a result, she writes, the impression could be one of too much emotion or immaturity. In writing, it is advisable to use exclamation points sparingly.”
7. Be cautious with humor.
A good sense of humor can easily get lost in translation if you don’t use the right tone or facial expression. When you are communicating professionally, you should avoid humor unless you are well acquainted with the recipient. It is also important to keep in mind that not everything you think is funny is funny to others. In the words of Pachter Whenever something is spoken, it may seem funny, but when it is written, it may be seen differently. It’s better to leave it out if you’re not sure.
Take note of cultural differences.
Due to cultural differences, miscommunications are easy to happen, especially through writing when the body language of the writer can’t be seen. Your message should be tailored to the receiver’s cultural background or the level of familiarity between you. According to Pachter, it is a good rule to remember that high-context cultures (such as Japanese, Arabs, or Chinese) want to learn about you before doing business. In this regard, it may be common for business associates from these countries to be more personal in their writing. People from low-context cultures (such as Germans, Americans, and Scandinavians) are more likely to get right to the point.
9. Reply to your emails
According to Pachter, it can be challenging to reply to every single email you receive. However, you should at least try, she Emails that are accidentally sent to you or those where the sender expects a reply fall under this category. Adding a reply does not need to be necessary, but it serves as good email etiquette, especially if the other person is in the same company. The following is an example of a While I understand you are very busy, I do not believe this email was meant for me to receive. “I wanted you to send it to the right person, so I wanted to let you know.”
10. Proofread every message.
There is a good chance that your email recipients will notice your mistakes. Pachter remarks that depending on who you are making them for, you might be held responsible for them. Never rely on a spell checker. It is a good idea to read and reread your email a few times before sending it. In an effort to explain, one supervisor intended to write, ‘Sorry for the inconvenience,'” says Pachter. It was his spell-check, however, which led him to write “Sorry for the incontinence.”
11. Add the email address last.
If you haven’t yet checked your message, don’t send an email before you’ve printed it out and proofed it. As a precaution, it’s important to delete the recipient’s address when you respond to a message and only add it when the message is ready for delivery.”
12. Double-check that you’ve selected the correct recipient.
If you type the wrong name in the “to” line of an email, it can be embarrassing for you and for the recipient. According to Patcher, pay close attention when typing a name from your address book on the email’s “to” line.
13. Keep your fonts classic.
I have to ask, where and when does purple Comic Sans belong You should keep your fonts, colors, and sizes classic, however, when writing for business purposes. This can be summed up as follows You should make sure that other people can easily read your emails. Pachter advises any writer to use type 10 or 12 points and a font that is easy to read such as Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman. far as color is concerned, black is the most secure option.
14. Keep tabs on your tone.
The tone of a message can be often misinterpreted without the context garnered from vocal cues and facial expressions, just like jokes get lost in translation. In this way, it’s easy to come off as less gentle than you The message you intended was straightforward, but it was misconstrued as angry and curt. To prevent misunderstandings, it is recommended you read your message out loud before you send it. According to her, she says, “If it sounds harsh to you, then it will sound harsh to the reader.” The best way to produce results is to avoid the use of negatively-laden words (such as “failure,” “wrong,” “neglected,” etc.),
15. Nothing is confidential so write accordingly.
CIA former chief David Petraeus apparently forgot the following, warns Pachter at the end of his essay The trail of every electronic message is always left behind. It is important to assume that others will read what you write, she says, “so please don’t put anything on your blog that you wouldn’t want others to see.” A more liberal interpretation would be If you write something that could ruin your life or hurt others, don’t do it. In the end, email is dangerously easy to forward, and safer than sorry is to be cautious.