Quite frankly, we don’t often think about it as we dash off another rapid reply to clear the email inbox. But how are people perceiving you online when they receive your email messages? How rude are you?
I mention this only because of a recent incident where I received an email from someone which didn’t leave me with a very professional opinion of them. I sent a group message to a list of creatives who are taking part in an event I’m coordinating. It was a simple request to send a 100 word text about themselves to show to people who might like to talk to them at the event.
Within an hour I received a reply with a 100 word text. No greeting, no signature, no niceties, just the text. I left my computer thinking how unfriendly this was. Small-minded of me, I know, and a little ‘picky’ but it did seem rude.
When I came back to think about it a few days later, I realised what an impact this less than professional reply had on my perception of the person who sent it. Someone I don’t know particularly well so can’t guess their frame of mind.
OK, I expect that they were busy, had a lot on their plate and just wanted to get the reply sent to get it off their “to do” list, but the result is that the next time I need to employ someone for a creative event, and there are two similar people who can do the job, I’m going to favour the other one. Life is too short to work with people who appear unprofessional and less than friendly.
So, here are our top 5 tips for email Etiquette when you don’t know the person particularly well. They might just help make sure you are the one who gets considered next time an opportunity comes up. They do seem obvious (very obvious) and simplistic, but there are people out there damaging their reputation by getting it wrong.
- 1, Always include a greeting (Hi there..., Dear..., Hello...)
- 2, Always include a parting comment (Thanks again for getting in touch...) and then your name.
- 3, Don’t type in CAPITALS, it looks like you are shouting. See this article on the BBC news website about a New Zealand woman who lost her job after sending e-mails filled with block capitals!
- 4, Keep it short. Readers are as busy as you and don’t want to read a short story.
- 5, If you are angry with the person you are emailing - leave it for a day before you send it so you can ‘cool down’. I speak from experience!!
And just in case you need more advice, type “Email Etiquette” into your favourite search engine. There is a great deal of detailed information out there.
Oh - and remember emails are not private - don’t write things that you wouldn’t write on paper!