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Email Courtesy and Politeness: A Reflection of More Basic Values

Courtesy matters in business email etiquette.

Much of what I type and write about concerning Business E-mail Etiquette boils down to being polite and reflecting courtesy for others. Even more so when it comes to your business activities, you hope to forge long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.

“Formal” Email Etiquette

The formal definition of etiquette is “rules governing socially acceptable behavior.” While the description of socially acceptable behavior is questionable nowadays, not much has changed when it comes to business. If you want to succeed, that is.

Showing courtesy and politeness reflects a level of professionalism in the competitive business world. Everyone agrees that is important.

In business, you always put your best foot forward. You should be formal. Every successful business person is always out to impress. Or should be.

Email is an extension of your business’ brand. It is surprising how many do not realize this when it comes to their business email activities.

Email is NOT All About You

We live in an “all about me” culture where too many carry that over into their email communications. They want to do what they want to do. A healthy portion not even thinking about how their lack of email etiquette will negatively reflect how they may be perceived by potential customers, partners, and employers alike.

Some do not appear concerned about how their lack of effort to communicate professionally will cause lost opportunity. Take them, or leave them! Sadly, many will choose to leave…

Today, I would like to share with you one of my favorite quotes on the topic of politeness:


Politeness to others is usually born out of respect for the individual, which you learn as a child. When you are treated with respect by other members of the family, you learn to respect them as well.

The self-esteem that results from being recognized as a unique person by the people who matter most to you helps you develop the confidence necessary to succeed later in life. Politeness and consideration for others are habits that, once developed, usually stay with you for a lifetime.

While common courtesy may seem relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things, it is a reflection of more basic values. More important, if you develop the habit of respecting others, you are likely to command respect from them.

~ Napoleon Hill

The last line says it all: “…if you develop the habit of respecting others, you are likely to command respect from them.”

Courtesy and politeness apply to all aspects of life. Email is now a part of everyday life. While many feel email is informal, there is nothing casual about business success.

When it comes to your business email activities, underestimating or disregarding courtesy and politeness — which leads to a perceived level of professionalism — is your choice to make.

Do you choose success?

Share the knowledge!

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