UK Employees and their clients spend, on average, about a quarter of the workweek combing through hundreds of emails. In our business, that can be at least doubled if not more, purely due to the location of our clients. Because of the sheer volume of messages, we are reading and writing, we may be more prone to making embarrassing errors, and those mistakes can have serious consequences. Therefore, we would like to share with you a recent reminder of protocol and etiquette, within our team when communicating in this way. ( and no, this reminder was not due an error … but it could so easily be , it has been retriggered for all of our recent recruits .)

Email Etiquette

  1. Add the email address last – You don’t want to send an email accidentally before you have finished writing and proofing the message. Even when you are replying to a message, it’s a good precaution to delete the recipient’s address and insert it only when you are sure the message is ready to be sent.
  2. Double-check that you’ve selected the correct recipient in the ‘To’ line – Pay careful attention when typing a name from your address book on the email’s “To” line. It’s easy to select the wrong name, which can be embarrassing to you and to the person who receives the email by mistake.
  3. Make sure you address the correct person at the beginning of your email – A similar faux pas is addressing the wrong recipient at the start of your email, be sure your email recipient matches the first name at the start of the email. Sending an email to an important person but using someone else’s name is embarrassing for both parties.
  4. Don’t shorten the recipient’s name unless they’ve asked you to – Unless the person has told you that they prefer a nickname, don’t take it upon yourself to use one. You may just be trying to be friendly or informal, but it’s inappropriate and can get under the recipient’s skin.
  5. Include a clear, direct subject line – Examples of a good subject line include “Rental Query,” “Update on your tenant,” or “Maintenance Request.” People often decide whether to open an email based on the subject line, so choose one that lets the recipient know the purpose of your message.
  6. Always ensure you Include a signature block – Provide your reader with some information about you, generally, this would state your full name, title, the company name, and your contact information, including a phone number.
  7. Use the same font, type size, and colour as the rest of the email – otherwise it will look like a cut and paste
  8. Use professional greetings – Don’t ever use laid-back, colloquial expressions like, “Hey you guys,” or even no greeting at all it is simply rude.
  9. Think twice before hitting ‘reply all’ – No one wants to read emails from 20 people that have nothing to do with them. Ignoring the emails can be difficult, with many people getting notifications of new messages on their smartphones or distracting pop-up messages on their computer screens. Refrain from hitting “reply all” unless you really think everyone on the list needs to receive the email.
  10. Use exclamation points very sparingly if at all!!! – If you choose to use an exclamation point, use only one to convey excitement. People sometimes get carried away and put a number of exclamation points at the end of their sentences. The result can appear too emotional or immature.
  11. Make sure you know people from different cultures speak and write differently – Miscommunication can easily occur because of cultural differences, especially in the writing form when we can’t see one another’s body language. Tailor your message to the receiver’s cultural background or how well you know them. A good rule to keep in mind, is that high-context cultures (Japanese, Arab, or Chinese) want to get to know you before doing business with you. Therefore, it may be common for business associates from these countries to be more personal in their writings. On the other hand, people from low-context cultures (German, American, or Scandinavian) prefer to get to the point very quickly.
  12. Be cautious with humour – Humor can easily get lost in translation without the right tone or facial expressions. In a professional exchange, it’s better to leave humor out of emails unless you know the recipient well. Also, something that you think is funny might not be funny to someone else. Something perceived as funny when spoken may come across very differently when written. When in doubt, leave it out.
  13. Reply to your emails — even if the email wasn’t intended for you, It’s difficult to reply to every email message ever sent to you, but you should try to, this includes when the email was accidentally sent to you, especially if the sender is expecting a reply. A reply isn’t necessary but serves as good email etiquette, especially if this person works in the same company or industry as you.
  14. Keep your fonts classic – Purple Comic Sans has a time and a place (maybe?) but for business correspondence, keep your fonts, colors, and sizes classic.
  15. Proofread every message – Your mistakes won’t go unnoticed by the recipients of your email and, depending upon the recipient, you may be judged for making them.
  16. Don’t rely on spell-check. – Read and reread your email a few times, preferably aloud, before sending it off.
  17. Keep tabs on your tone – Just as jokes get lost in translation, tone is easy to misconstrue without the context you’d get from vocal cues and facial expressions. Accordingly, it’s easy to come off as more abrupt that you might have intended. You meant “straightforward”; they read “angry and curt.” For best results, avoid using unequivocally negative words (“failure,” “wrong,” or “neglected”), and always say “please” and “thank you.”
  18. Mark your emails ‘urgent’ sparingly – if you abuse the urgent marker in internal or external emails, it won’t be long until no one will pay any attention to it and when it is truly urgent you may find no one responds.
  19. Nothing is confidential on email — so write accordingly, every electronic message leaves a trail. A basic guideline is to assume that others will see what you write, so don’t write anything you wouldn’t want everyone to see.
  20. Only cc with approval – Sharing contact information is annoying. It could also be a liability.
  21. Avoid putting words in ALL CAPS – ARE YOU YELLING?!?! Because that’s what using all caps looks like.


email etiquettes - homes or houses

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