Leadership: Creating a More Professional Workplace
SOME HELPFUL TIPS Email Business Etiquette
- Include any target due date in the subject line.Agree upon a level of importance and state that in the subject line, such as
• Level 5 – urgent, drop everything and give attention asap
• Level 4 – pressing, needs attention within 24 hours
• Level 3 – important, please read
• Level 2 – necessary but not urgent
• Level 1 – for information only
- This is one example. If your office is inundated with emails, it becomes more crucial to use these levels realistically.
- Avoid over-rating your importance level or exaggerating with the use of IMPORTANT and URGENT, unless absolutely necessary.
- CC anyone that does not need to take action, but should have a record of the email.
- If you are responding to an email and changing the subject at all, change the subject line too.
- Let’s say the email started with a request for a time together over coffee. After two or three back-n-forth’s, the date was agreed to but the sender added “hey, what ever happened to the Millstone project? Did the client get those numbers to you that you needed?”
- Generate an automatic response if you will be out of the office one day or longer. The automatic response should state who the backup is, or how to contact the recipient immediately.
- Use discretion in using REPLY ALL.
- And FORWARD for that matter. I received a slightly rude note from a friend once, and wanted to forward it to my sister with a sassy comment. We get VERY familiar with the REPLY key, and often mistake it for the FORWARD key. Well, you can guess what happened.
- If you are seeking an answer from the email, state the question(s) clearly and separately.
APPROPRIATENESS and TONE
- Sensitive issues should not be transmitted through email, but rather handled in person or by phone. This would include any email where critiquing is involved, or where it could be interpreted as criticism.
- Delivering a negative answer to an internal customer is considered delivering bad news. Key dialogs between customers and suppliers should be in person or on the phone.
- Words with judgmental tones are amplified in email. Avoid negative words, if possible.
- Absolutes should not be used unless they indeed are absolute (never, always, everyone, worst, etc.)
- When forwarding an email, be aware that you are now sharing a message written for you to a third party. Review whether the original sender would approve of the eventual receiver seeing his email.
- Avoid overreacting to an email that was interpreted a certain way. Do not hastily respond to an email with expression of extreme emotion or opinion in the email (called flaming). This is unprofessional and counterproductive.
- Internal emails may have a different level of professionalism than those that get sent externally. In either case, it is appropriate to use proper grammar.
- Limit email usage to a single topic.
- For long emails, include a summary statement at the start of the email so that it can be quickly scanned and dispositioned.
- Make the subject line meaningful. For example: “Jackson case review” is too vague. Consider instead: “Draft agenda items for Jan 30th Jackson case meeting”
- Limit jargon and acronyms when distributing to an external recipient or someone that is not familiar with the terminology.
- Be simple in your language. If you need to be more complicated, the message should probably be in some other communication medium.
- Your system should have an efficient filter for spam checking. A spam tool should scan your outgoing e-mail and thoroughly check for keywords and phrases that may trigger the spam filters. It helps ensure your e-mail lands in your audience’s inbox rather than their junk mail folder.
- If your business owns a website, then it may be that the spam-check tool came with it. If not, consider a website service that integrates Spam-Check for you that includes great tools like SpamCheck.
EXAMPLES of what NOT to do
“You really irritated our customers yesterday. We need to talk about it.”
“There are extra Girl Scout Cookies in the break room!”
“I don’t like the way you made the decision to go forward, Jerry.” (AND sent as a Reply All)
Sound familiar? Can you recognize what is wrong with each example above?
Every one of those breaks the rules of email etiquette.
Poor workplace email etiquette does more than just violate a (usually unwritten) standard.
IT CAN RUIN YOUR PROFESSIONAL IMAGE!!!
It sends a message about your professional posture and discipline with office procedures, both as an individual and as a company. It is a part of a bigger code of propriety called netiquette.
A BETTER WORKPLACE!
Want to convert your workplace to a more professional-looking business without pain?
It’s so dang simple, it’s ridiculous. But it takes someone with a drive to change (which is why YOU have come this far.) Which is why we wrote the e-book to get you there.
So, in addition to the immediate, and critical tips we give you right now and listed below, we will give you an e-book to take you through the “Can’t Lose” process for leading your co-workers through the training to get more professional.
Tutorial on how to implement your new email policy.
OVERHAUL your office email etiquette in a few easy steps.
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This Step-by-Step guide includes:
- What to consider when defining your email etiquette policy
- Best ways to “sell” your new email guidelines
- The full and detailed list of
- Format guidelines for everyone
- Appropriateness & tone considerations
- How to make the topic content work best
- Proper grammar and typical mistakes
- Common mistakes when changing your policies