As the world continues to move faster and faster, especially online, people are becoming increasingly impatient. Along with declining attention spans and an increase in multitasking, etiquette and manners, especially within email communications, fall to the wayside. The average corporate email user sends and receives around 525 email messages per week – a number that continues to rise.
Have you ever read an email full of shortcuts or typos and debated the legitimacy of the information within the email? Proper etiquette in the business world is important for career growth and is becoming increasingly obsolete in today’s ever-evolving digital world of texting and instant messaging. Is “Gr8” and “4 u” appropriate correspondence to send to a client?
If you want to be taken seriously in the corporate world, you need to know who your audience is and when it’s appropriate to joke around. When in doubt, follow these top 10 email etiquette tips straight from the mouth of George Washington himself – sort of. Though email communication came much after his time, his advice in the Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation is still applicable today. Here are George Washington’s Top 10 Email Etiquette Tips for today’s business worker.
1. Know your audience. In writing or Speaking, give to every Person his due Title According to his Degree & the Custom of the Place. Your e-mail greeting and closing should be consistent with the level of respect and formality of the person you are communicating with.
2. Don’t “e-mail angry.” Speak not injurious Words neither in Jest nor Earnest Scoff at none although they give Occasion. Always remember that email lasts forever. Think twice before you respond back with an emotionally charged note.
3. Do not pass along inappropriate forwards while at work. Show Nothing to your Friend that may affright him. Again, email lasts forever. Inappropriate forwards at work are not worth the risk of termination or legal action that might come with them.
4. Be concise and get to the point. Let your Discourse with Men of Business be Short and Comprehensive. People are busy and do not have the time to dig through long paragraphs in order to figure out what you’re asking. Keep it simple. Keep it short.
5. Think twice before sending confidential information. Never express anything unbecoming, nor Act against the Rules Moral before your inferiors. Highly sensitive information should not be passed around outside of office walls. Should the email get into the wrong hands, you could face serious legal repercussions.
6. Avoid all caps and use exclamation points sparingly. At Play and at Fire its Good manners to Give Place to the last Commer, and affect not to Speak Louder than Ordinary. Using all caps or multiple instances of !!! or ??? is perceived as shouting and is rude and condescending. The maximum number of exclamation points in a business e-mail is one.
7. Respond in a timely fashion. Turn not your Back to others especially in Speaking. Even if you are unable to answer the person’s question right away, it’s good practice to acknowledge the email and let them know that you will need more time.
8. Punctuation matters. When a man does all he can though it Succeeds not well blame not him that did it. Comma, colon, hyphen, semicolon and period all exist for a reason. You are not setting yourself up for success by making your readers guess the intended meaning of your sentence.
9. Refrain from overly using emoticons. The Gestures of the Body must be Suited to the discourse you are upon. As much as you want to include that happy face or sad face icon to show your emotions, there is little need for their usage in the business world.
10. Do not use “Reply All” unnecessarily. Being to advise or reprehend any one, consider whether it ought to be in publick or in Private. Do not use Reply All to tattle, scold, correct or send nasty comments back to the sender. Show some decorum and email directly or pick up the phone to talk it through.
These important etiquette tips will certainly allow your business communications to rise above the majority who do not take the time to put in the effort. When it comes to your career, it’s important to remember that the impression you make over e-mail can frame you as a credible professional that’s a pleasure to do business with, or someone who has no clue what they’re talking about. Professionalism and courtesy never go out of style.