Email is a very convenient and important tool in business communication. It’s important that when communicating via email, you do things properly to avoid aspersions being cast on your professionalism.
1. Mind your manners. It is still important to say things like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. Also, address your contacts on a first name basis only if they are comfortable with this. Pay attention to your tone. You don’t want to sound curt, arrogant or indifferent, but want to come across as respectful and approachable.
2. Get to the point. Avoid long-winded emails. Get to the point of your emails as quickly as possible, without omitting the key details and the essence of the email. Time is short, people are busy and they really just want to get to the point of what you want to convey.
3. Be professional. As a professional, you want every avenue of communication to reflect your level of professionalism. Do you respond to important email on time? It really is bad business to respond slowly to legitimate email. Always strive to answer on time, every time. And remember, no matter how irate your contact is, always remain cool, courteous and helpful.
4. Watch your punctuation, grammar and spelling. Nothing screams ‘unprofessional’ more than bad spelling, abbreviations, slangs, emoticons and inappropriate language, terms and expressions that do not have a place in professional communication. Do you double check for typos, grammatical errors and other common mistakes? Use a spell checker or a dictionary if necessary.
5. What does your email address say about you? Do you really think it is all right to use your firstname.lastname@example.org email address to communicate with clients? The email address for your domain or even the one provided by your ISP looks and conveys a more professional image than a free address ever could, and is more likely to impress your clients. When choosing an email address for your business, always put some thought into selecting the appropriate name.
6. Send your email to the right person. It does not look good on your part sending an email to the wrong recipient. That particular email could have contained confidential information that was intended for a ‘Daniel’ to read but was mistakenly sent to a ‘Dan’. Always be careful when selecting names and adding to the ‘To:’ field, as it may be populated, or you have several contacts with the same first name.
7. Where’s the attachment? Personally, I’ve been guilty of this a couple times. If you spot the missing attachment quickly and can send it soon after, you can ‘save face’. However, if you consistently make this mistake, you may come off looking unprofessional and careless. Try this: Before writing anything, attach the file(s) first before you forget!
8. DON’T SCREAM AT ME!!! Using all caps is the equivalent of shouting and should be avoided at all costs. Not only is it hard to read, it is considered rude and annoying and you may just been seen as unprofessional and inconsiderate by the reader.