According to The UCLA Internet Report, of the 72.3 percent of Americans who use the Internet, 87.9 percent use email. Many use it for business communications, which is the main reason to write this article on email etiquette. While a lot of people understand the importance of following certain rules when writing a business letter, they often forget these rules when composing an email message. Just in case you've forgotten, let's refresh your memory.
- Mind Your Manners: Think of the basic rules you learned growing up, like saying please and thank you. Address people you don't know as Mr., Mrs., or Dr. Only address someone by first name if they imply it's okay to do so.
- Watch Your Tone: Merriam-Webster defines tone as an "accent or inflection expressive of a mood or emotion." It is very difficult to express tone in writing. You want to come across as respectful, friendly, and approachable. You don't want to sound curt or demanding.
- Be Concise: Get to the point of your email as quickly as possible, but don't leave out important details that will help your recipient answer your query.
- Be Professional: This means, stay away from abbreviations and don't use emoticons (those little smiley faces). Don't use a cute or suggestive email address for business communications.
- Use Correct Spelling and Proper Grammar: Use a dictionary or a spell checker — whichever works better for you. While you can write in a conversational tone (contractions are okay), pay attention to basic rules of grammar.
- Ask Before You Send an Attachment: Because of computer viruses, many people won't open attachments unless they know the sender. Even that can be a mistake because many viruses come disguised in email messages from someone you know. Before sending an attachment, ask the recipient if you may do so.
- Wait to Fill in the "TO" Email Address: Career Planning Site visitor Larry Batchelor says, "I never fill in the 'TO' email address until I am completely through proofing my email and I am sure that it is exactly the way that I want it. This will keep you from accidentally sending an email prematurely. In the past, I have accidentally clicked on the send icon, when I really meant to click on the attachment icon."