Business Email Etiquette

Business email etiquette rules and tips for the elegant woman. Email has always been a big part of business. Read the thirteen ways of remaining professional when using your business email.

email has replaced face to face communication on a train

What are the Etiquette Guidelines for Business Email?

Email is one form of communication and like all forms of communication, it is not 100% perfect.

Why? A large part of communication comes from our facial expressions, gestures which we rely on in face-to-face communication. We also reply on tone of voice and pace of words in talking on the phone. Both which using email lacks.

Thus more effort must be placed in making yourself understood as there is a greater chance of misinterpretation.

My experiences with email continues to surprise me. There are occasions where I've received seemingly rude emails but the emails after my reply are usually heartwarming! I then thank God that I did not choose to react at my first instinct (to respond curtly).

Thus, we need to apply extra politeness, respect and courtesies in email. Especially in a business setting. Keep friendliness and 'familiarity' to a minimum. Write in a more formal way - that is polite and appropriate.

Business Email Etiquette Tips

You can't avoid having to use email at the office.

First, even though you are given an email address with your name at work, it doesn't mean it is yours. It becomes to the company because it bears the company's name. You have a professional obligation to use it only for professional reasons. It should not be used for frivolous correspondence.

Here are some business email etiquette tips:

  1. Beware of the language you use emails.

  2. Do not use more than one exclamation mark or question mark, if you have to at all.

  3. Do not use 'dearest', 'darling' or any other nicknames or pet names when emailing..

  4. Do not use offensive language.

  5. Do not spam or forward unrelated emails.

  6. Do not sign up for discount offers or web memberships using company's email.

  7. Please use the phone or walk over to the person's desk instead of email if that is possible. An over-reliance on email WILL get you into trouble.

  8. Keep your sentences short and in good grammatical order if possible.

  9. Avoid lengthly emails. They are tedious to read.

  10. Always summarize the objective of the email into the SUBJECT: heading of the email/

  11. Use "To", "Dear" Recipient. Sign off professionally, "Yours Sincerely", "Kind regards",

  12. Include business name, a business phone contact and or a business website at the end of the email, or as an 'email signature' to give recipient easy reference.

  13. Basic courtesy and respect should always be employed.

  14. Depending on the formality of the company, adhere the type of language you use in your business email. It's best to keep it relatively formal.

Email is instant communication. Because they transmit instantaneously, many of them are sent off with a blast, much to the sender's regret.

Deleting emails is also tedious and time wasting. Sending people unwanted emails is an act of intrusion.

Business email etiquette

The Misuse of Business Email

Business email is private and confidential within the company.

In some employee contracts (if you cared to read with a magnifying glass), it states that whatever information are in your business email is the rightful property of the company.

In many business situations, employers have the right to and do scan and monitor company's email.

Email in itself, whether business email or not may not be 100% confidential or private so avoid distributing important information like credit card phone numbers.

The minute you are asked to leave the company, all contacts and information contained in those emails rightfully belong to theirs.

With this in mind, you should employ discretion with your business email.

Do not provide them with grounds to fire you because of business email abuse.

Abusive conduct of email includes:

  • mass forwarding of emails not related to work,

  • questionable pictures and material on emails,

  • offensive language used in emails,

  • chain letters,

  • spam

  • and any other nuisance caused by emailing.

See more business etiquette and how to be elegant at work.

Email Manners - The Use of CC:

Business Email etiquette: Always Include The Person Who First Introduced You

A Personal Example

This happened to my husband and me.

When my friend DL heard my husband worked with start up medical device companies, he wanted 'in' along with his group of investor friends. I made the introduction, and there was a video conference call between two countries, namely Colin and his main partner K (who owned the intellectual property rights) and DL.

After a while months rolled along, DL used the contact he established through us and emailed directly K leaving Colin entirely out of it. That was plain rude and may be seen as a "undercutting" of so to speak of a 'middleman'. Perhaps that is what he thinks Colin is, simply a middle man. K was very gracious and added Colin into CC: in his response, and also forwarding the initial email.

To be honest, I think DL should be embarrassed.

Whether he'll be introduced to more exclusive business deals? I don't think so.

You might also be interested in:

Business Meal Etiquette
Proper Business Card Etiquette
International Business Etiquette
Cell Phone Manners
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Business email etiquette, Workplace email etiquette, proper email etiquette, email etiquette tips, email manners, email etiquette guide


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