At work, it’s a given that you’ll probably send and receive emails. Emailing isn’t industry specific but it is a staple of business environments. It’s how your employees speak with your clientele and how they coordinate between departments internally. Even though email is common practice, there’s still a decorum to consider. Sending the wrong type of email can lead to big problems (up to termination) very quickly.

So here are a few things to keep in mind before you hit send on your next message:

Emails are NOT private

Emails are company property. At any point in time, they can be retrieved and reviewed (even if you delete them). Keep that in mind and don’t send anything you wouldn’t want to be printed out and put on display in a meeting with leadership and possibly human resources.

Embrace short subject lines

Clarity should be your best friend. Your readers shouldn’t have to decipher scrolls of a subject line by candlelight. Be direct and be concise. Remember, you aren’t the only person in the company who gets emails. The recipient of your message might be reading hundreds or even thousands of emails. Clear subject lines help people prioritize messages and minimize guesswork.

Abstain from one-word email responses

Sending “thanks” or “ok” as an email response doesn’t make you sound edgy. It makes you sound pretentious and it can easily lead to confusion, especially if there are multiple messages in the thread. If you have a message that doesn’t require a direct response, state that in the subject line.

Reply to all emails, but be careful of “reply all”

If you were standing in front of someone and they directly asked you a question, it’d be rude to ignore them, right? The same applies to emails. When someone crafts a message specifically for you, respond to it when you can. If there’s a delay, address it. That being said, sometimes “reply all” isn’t necessary. This is especially true when your response is only for one person specifically. Just use your best judgment.

Avoid humor

Humor doesn’t translate well in emails. There’s a lot more to a joke than the words themselves; you have to consider tone, body language, etc. None of those things are present in an email, so something might be hilarious to you, but come across totally different to someone who didn’t read the words the way you did in your head.

Proofread your message

Nothing undermines the gravity of your message more than a typo. It shows a lack of attention to detail. If you don’t care about your message enough to make sure everything is spelled correctly, why should your reader? Always give your emails a few reads before sending them. Still in doubt? Ask a co-worker to look it over for a fresh set of eyes. When it comes to proofreading, be mindful of punctuation. Multiple exclamation points are very seldom necessary in any email. One more safeguarding practice is to write the message first and then add the address of the recipient, so you don’t accidentally send an unfinished message.

Include an official signature

Give your reader information they can use to contact you with. It adds an extra layer of professionalism to your message. Usually, a full name, title, contact information, and company name is enough to make your email that much more official.

Actsoft specializes in orchestrating messaging between the office and the field. Many of the principles discussed in this blog can apply to the messaging our software provides. Even if the messaging is something like adding a few words to a picture, or including a note to a wireless form, the rules still apply.

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