How to use Proper Business Email Etiquette

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Email may be a fast and efficient way to keep in touch with colleagues, but incorrect usage is not only unprofessional, it may cost you your job. A few tips can help you maintain professional email etiquette.

Begin by addressing the email to the recipient using proper title i.e. Dear Mr. Mrs. Ms. Miss. Dr. etc. A lack of formality is the most common error. Regardless of the medium of communication, certain etiquette is essential. If you would address the recipient by their formal title in person, do so in your emails as well.

If the email is being delivered to multiple recipients, you can substitute Dear Gentlemen, Ladies, Sirs, (Company Name) Personnel, etc.

Skip one line and enter your contents -- the information statement the article is addressing. This should never contain slang, profanity, nudity, sarcasm, jokes, degradation of an individual, or any other information that can be construed as insulting to anyone.

Keep your message direct and to the point. Base it on facts, not emotions.

Never forget that emails are easily forwarded. Even if the intended recipients do not forward the email, some companies monitor email correspondence unbeknownst to the computer user. Also, once something is in print, whether electronically or otherwise, it can be referenced for an unspecified length of time. A friendly recipient today may be an adversary tomorrow.

Skip a line and close with a proper signature. This should include your full name, company name, department if applicable, company address, and contact phone information.

Example:

Best Regards;

John Smith, Editor ABC Entertainment 123 Main Street, Suite 280 Los Angeles, CA 92567 Phone: (213) 456-7485 Cell: (213) 654-8768

In the subject line, title the email appropriately so it is easily identified.

Always spell check! Spelling errors reflect poorly on the author.

Proofread. Then let it sit for 20 minutes or as long as possible and proofread again. If an important point or matter is being addressed, have another individual proofread before sending to recipients.

It is very easy to hit the send button, but control the urge as once the email is sent you can't correct mistakes.

Do not use emoticons, as cute as they may seem.

Also, avoid using too many colors. Try to keep the colors to two maximum per email.

Always BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) yourself so you have copies of your correspondence even if your email program automatically saves copies of sent email.

You will soon grow accustomed to the formality. Recipients will appreciate your professionalism and you can help to avoid potentially harmful mistakes.

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