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20 Examples of Bad Workplace Email Etiquette

2016-09-08 18:46:22

With e-mail being one of the main forms of communication within the professional workplace, knowing the proper etiquette on writing and sending e-mails is a must with almost any career path.

E-mails pose as the sort of front lines of communication between professionals.  Properly written e-mails will stand out and grab attention, while poorly written e-mails will most likely be tossed in the junk folder, or even cause some trouble in the office.  Follow these 20 rules and avoid trash worthy e-mails.


1. ALWAYS PROOFREAD

While this should be a given, many e-mails are sent without proofreading and are laden with spelling and grammar errors.  These kinds of mistakes scream amateur and can give off an unprofessional vibe.


2. STAY ON POINT

Edit the text and make sure that the e-mail stays to the point and flows well.  Move sentences around or delete unnecessary information to make the message as clear as possible.


3. EDIT LENGTH

E-mails should only contain enough information to get a point across.  If the message is simple, keep the e-mail short and sweet.  If there is detailed information, consider adding attachments or links that offer more details without sending a drawn out e-mail.


4. SEND TO SPECIFIC PEOPLE

Only send the e-mail to individuals who are required to respond or take action.  For individuals who do not need to take action, but still need record of the e-mail, CC them in. 


5. BE CAREFUL FORWARDING E-MAILS


Only forward e-mails if absolutely necessary and be wary of who exactly the e-mail is being forwarded to. Only use the “reply all” when the response applies to all. To make things neat and more organized, delete some of the previous email conversation that is not necessary for the recipient to read, or visually highlight key points for them to look at. They don’t need to read through a back and forth conversation if they only need to know what time the meeting is at on Friday.

6. CREATE AUTOMATIC RESPONSES

In a professional setting, it is common courtesy to create automatic response e-mails for when you are out of town or will be out of office for extended amounts of time.  The e-mail will inform senders that the e-mail went through, but that you are out of office and unable to respond.  It will alleviate any confusion and timely concerns and will give the sender a chance to re-send the e-mail once you are back in office.


7. AVOID SENSITIVE ISSUES

E-mails are a means of communication, but should not be used to discuss issues that are better discussed in person.  Individuals in leadership positions should avoid sending critiques over e-mail or sending messages that could easily be interpreted as negative.


8. HAVE GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE

In customer service jobs, negative replies to customers can send a bad message and should be avoided. If the conversation requires explanation or can be interpreted wrong, it is always preferable to speak with the customer over the phone or in person.  Words with judgmental tones will almost always be interpreted incorrectly.  


9. REACTING TO AN EMAIL

If a received e-mail appears to be negative, be careful of how you respond.  Never overreact to e-mails and always give the benefit of the doubt.  Seek clarity before causing unnecessary conflict.


10. KNOW PROFESSIONALISM LEVELS


Adjust the level of professionalism of the e-mail according to the receiver.  Sending a casual, light-hearted e-mail might be appropriate to send to a friend or colleague, but would not be suitable for a client or someone in a leadership position.


11. LIMIT CONTENT

Limit e-mails content to one specific topic.  The e-mail should not have overloaded amounts of information.  The recipient might not have the time to read through unnecessary details and staying precise will assure a greater impact.


12.  CHOOSE SUBJECT LINES WISELY

Since the subject is the first thing recipients will see when they receive the e-mail, it is crucial to pick a subject that offers the right details.  One thing to avoid is one-word and vague subject lines.  The subject line should entice the recipient and should clearly indicate what the e-mail contains.


13.  ATTACH THE RIGHT DOCUMENTS

It is easy to attach the wrong documents, which can lead to confusion, conflict or another unwanted response.  Carefully choose which documents are being attached, make sure all documents are attached, and be sure to double check what is being attached before sending the e-mail. Always preview the content just incase.


14.  CREATE A SIGNATURE

Signing off an e-mail with just your name may not look unprofessional, but it is typically expected for a signature to include the name, the person’s title and their contact information.


15.  AVOID SARCASM


Professionalism always comes before humor.  Humor does not translate well via e-mail.

16.  NEVER USE EMOTICONS

E-mails are a method of communication and should be taken seriously.  While emoticons are fun, they have no place in workplace e-mails.


17.  SEND A THANK-YOU

Send thank-you emails as a way of showing appreciation.


18. DON’T OVER-SEND THANK YOU EMAILS
Do not send thank-you emails as a response to a thank-you email.


19.  STOP USING “DEAR”

While opening a letter with “Dear Mr. Jones” might be acceptable for a formal letter, it is too formal for an e-mail.  Greetings can start with “Hi” followed by the recipient’s name or many simply use just the name itself.


20. INCLUDE TITLES


Make sure you don’t refer to a married woman as “miss” or a single woman as “mrs.” You should know to whom the e-mail is being addressed to.  Address them using the appropriate title.  Do not refer to someone as doctor unless you know for certain that they have a doctorate.

Though emails have a vibe of being a “workplace text message” the information within he content is often more important than just a casual remark. Therefore, give the email the proper amount of care and attention by following these etiquette tips.

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