Being new to my first professional job, there were many things in the office I simply did not know. Most were things along the lines of company policy, so that was my biggest focus. Though my boss would often CC me in e-mails, all of my interaction were with him and my coworker. I did not talk with clients and outside contractors, so I was little confused when I was supposed to send an e-mail to an outsider.
Of course, I have written hundreds of e-mails in my own business, and I had even noticed how casual people seemed to be now when sending out e-mails, no greetings, no salutations. No one is excluded. From assistants to big executives, my messages read like, “I’m so and so and I do so and so…” In the beginning, I was like “Really? That’s how you approach a business?” Then I simply got used to it and did not think twice about it. I know I am long winded, so I figured this must be the way to get straight to the point and keep it moving, so that is how I sent out the e-mail to our contractor.
Bad move! That was a big mistake. Until then my boss had not had any complaints with me and seemed very impressed with my performance. Now he did not just go off about the email, but he did intervene in the message and apologize for my unprofessionalism AND CC me in it. For a somewhat perfectionist like myself, this was the end of the world. I went through a lot of prayers, before checking my email and seeing a message from my boss saying it was ok, but to differentiate between messages amongst us and those outside of the company. He did not have to tell me twice.
The funny thing is, not long before this happened, I had had the same talk with one of my interns about her correspondence with features. I was horrified when I saw an email that started with some type of command and no “Greetings”, “Hello”, and “How are you? I am…”
With the way business and business transactions have changed so much with the times, it’s easy to forget the basics that we often need to return to, like business etiquette. Here are 6 six clear cut tips for email etiquette.
- Possess a professional email address.
- Include a clear and direct subject line.
- Include a greeting and closing.
- Use humor sparingly and wisely.
- Reply to emails, even if you are the wrong recipient.
In spite of how business practices seemed to have changed and everyone has CEO/ Executive Director behind their name, one must do more than present themselves as a professional with titles but conduct themselves as professionals at all times. Don’t hold the etiquette!