Manners & tone play a HUGE part of email etiquette. Communication is approximately 90% body language, 8% tone of voice, and the final 2% is actually what you have to say. With email we remove the first 98%, when we actually stop and think about it. Be aware of this when you write an email.
Mind your manners!
Remember when you were a kid and your parents would say this to you? Remember how irritated we would feel?
Stop and think about this – what three words have a total of only 14 letters, yet carry a good deal of meaning? People may not notice these words when they are used, but if you forget to use them, you could come across looking disrespectful and ungrateful. Give up?
These powerful words are “Please” and “Thank you“. Please take my advice. You’ll thank me later!
For example, you receive an email inquiry about your product or service. When you respond do you start with:
Hello (person’s name)
Thank you for your inquiry regarding (product/service)
And do you end your response with:
Please feel free to contact me again, if you have additional questions.
While this may seem trivial, adding these three powerful words to your email make you, the unknown entity, seem friendly, approachable, and respectful.
My name is Edwin, not Ed
While this isn’t something that specifically bothers me, there are many people who are quite sensitive about being addressed by a shortened version of their first name, especially by a stranger. For example, some people become extremely frustrated when their name is published as Edwin and people send emails that begin with “Hi Ed”.
Don’t use THAT tone with me!
Again, as children, our parents would say “Don’t use that tone of voice with me”.
This was quite often accompanied by a shaking finger and a somewhat harsh tone of voice from the parent. Your feelings had come across by the way in which you said something, and while it’s easy to change your tone of voice while speaking, it’s very difficult to do so when you’re writing.
When you write an email, make sure you come across as respectful, friendly, and approachable. The last thing you want to do is come off sounding curt, demanding, and unapproachable.
If you are writing to someone you’ve communicated with before and have an established relationship with, you might want to begin by saying, “I hope you are well” or “it’s good to hear from you“.
Things to avoid in order to keep your manners & tone under control
Don’t do these things:
- reply to an email when you’re angry – you could very well regret it later
- keep email on your server longer than necessary, especially large attachments
- copy an entire, long message, just to add “I agree”
- type in all CAPITALS, it’s considered SHOUTING and old eyes (like mine) find it very difficult to read
- send chain letters or “get rich quick” messages
- make personal remarks about third-parties – emails can come back to haunt you
Remember, it’s easy to offend someone via email
That’s it for this week. Next week we’ll talk about keeping our emails concise and professional.