In our technology driven world, communicating through mail is one of the fastest ways to send a message to family, friends and business colleagues. Emails, when written for friends and family are rather informal requiring no specific rules to be followed. But, when mailing a person on a professional level, one misconstrued letter could adversely affect a business relationship. So, it becomes very important to follow some basic guidelines of etiquette so you can keep your online communication in order.
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Here are some dos and don’ts in business communication:
Choose Professional Email Account Names: When creating an email account name, it’s always best to use your own name as part of the email address and always avoid nicknames.
Avoid Using Caps: Caps are the equivalent to shouting in internet lingo. The recipient will feel as though they are being yelled at.
Respond in a Timely Fashion: If you’re unable to give an answer, at least acknowledge that you have received the mail by sending a short reply to someone’s mail within a few hours. This lets the sender know that you have received it.
Use Out-of-Office Email Tools: If you’re unable to read your email because you’re going to be away from the office, use the out-of-office mailing tool to automatically respond to incoming email. This way the sender will not expect a timely reply.
Do Use Subject Lines: Having a subject line lets the recipient know what your email is about. A blank subject line may get your email flagged as spam and may never reach your intended recipient.
Keep Business and Personal Emails Separate: Do not use your business email for personal correspondence. It’s always best to have two separate email accounts.
Check the Message before you send it: Write in complete sentences and make sure your message is organized and grammatically correct. Always check for spelling and punctuation.
Use a Professional Tone: Always use a professional tone in your email. Never joke or use sarcasm. The use of smiley faces and other emoticons is also inappropriate.
Use a Signature That Includes Contact Information: Include a signature that has your contact information such as your mailing address, website and phone number. This ensures that people know who you are.
Be Careful with Styling and Formatting. Do not use fancy fonts and multi-coloured fonts. The best fonts to use for business purposes are Times New Roman, Arial and other book print fonts. Avoid using patterned backgrounds as they make the message harder to read.
Keep Messages Short and to the Point: Avoid long emails that contain too much information. Use as few words as possible. This will help the recipient sort through the email more efficiently and help generate a quicker email response.
Email Isn’t Private: Whatever you say in email cannot always be taken back. Email can be retrieved and examined. Email can also be saved and forwarded by any recipient who chooses to do so. It’s always best to keep the content professional to avoid embarrassment. You only have one chance to make a first impression when sending an email to a business professional. Make sure your email gives the message that you intended to send.