Communication is truly an important skill. However something that I’ve noticed is that sometimes we pay more attention to the words that we speak, and not so much attention to the words that we type….which is also a form of communication.

What you say via email, text, or any sort of internal communication platform you might be using in the office as well as how you say it, should be given the same amount of importance as the words you speak.

Failure to pay close attention to your written word could hamper your abilities to connect, build trust, and to be heard by those you are trying to communicate with.

 

Why is email etiquette so important? 

Number one, emails are basically like legal documents. Number two, emails are a direct reflection of you and your professionalism. Number three, emails are an extremely important part when it comes to internal and external communication. So this is why you want to be on point when it comes to your email etiquette.

Now let’s get into the tips!

Tip #1 – Start your emails off right

You know, as a leader, you have to really consider what’s appropriate and what’s inappropriate for you to be doing. For example, using “hey so and so” might not necessarily be the most professional way to address somebody. Although I do understand that sometimes you have a really close colleague or coworker. But generally speaking, you want to be using professional language when starting your emails such as hello or dear. The other thing I’ll say, which is actually more of an issue is that a lot of people will send emails just using the person’s first name. This can be very direct and even harmful. You don’t want the person on the receiving end to perceive you as being an unpleasant person. So it’s better for you to use the greetings. That’s what they’re there for. Here’s the thing about email, it is so often left to another person’s interpretation that it’s just far better for you to be on the safe side of things.

Tip #2 – Watch your tone

As someone that has been deeply entrenched in the customer service world. I really know how tone can make a world of a difference. Email is one of the worst places for you to pick up on certain cues. Which is why you really want to think about what you’re sending and how it’s going to be perceived by the other person. Aim to put yourself in that person’s shoes and think about whether or not what you are saying accurately portrays who you are. So you just want to do that double check with yourself. And put yourself in that person’s shoes. If you do have any doubt, then it’s a good idea to just ask a colleague. Pull a team member over and simply ask them to check the tone of the email to make sure that you are getting your point across in a respectful and dignified manner.

Tip #3 – Know when to walk away

I think we’ve all been in that situation before where we’re involved in a fury of emails and things are getting heated. It is far better to just walk away from it and then come back when you’re in a more calm state of mind. As a side note, generally speaking, if you do have something important to say email probably isn’t the best place for you to be saying it anyways. It’s probably better for you to schedule time, to sit with that person and talk to them face to face or on the phone so that you can hear the words and how they are saying what they are saying.

Tip #4 – Read over your emails

It’s amazing to me how many people don’t take the extra moment to just glance over what they’re about to send before sending it. What you want to do is take a second to check things such as your spelling, your grammar, that you are sending it to the right person and that the tone is right. Then you want to hit the send button.

Tip #5 – Do not babble

Have you ever received an email that was like 27 pages long? I know I have. And you know what I did with an email like that? I skipped to the bottom to figure out what is it here that I need to know. And I mean I feel bad because obviously that person put a lot of effort into drafting that email but the truth is who has time for that? There’s other things to do!  So here’s my point, you want to make sure that you’re getting straight to the point. Keep it simple and make it as scrollable as possible because in today’s day and age, attention spans are really not that long.

And if you want what you have to say to be received, then should put the important parts at the top. Anything that supports those important points in the middle and extra thoughts at the end.

It’s been said that emails that are written at a third grade level are actually more optimal for reading as well as for response. Now, I’m not saying that you have to take like all your emails and write it out in like third grade level form. But the principle does apply in the sense that you want to make it as simple as possible. So use simple and understandable language so that your message is received.