I’m a bit “ranty” today based on what I’ve been weeding through in my inbox this morning. I know those of you who have been with me for awhile will get where I’m coming from. For those new to my blog, maybe this post will allow you to rethink your approach to your business e-mail.
There are those that believe that E-mail Etiquette is something they can choose to practice or not. Some even have a visceral reaction to E-mail Etiquette. They assume that e-mail is informal and the standards of professional communications do not apply to e-mail.
Not sure where they get that idea. Business communications have always been on a different level with unique expectations.
We All Make Choices
Those who believe e-mail etiquette it is a choice and something that can be disregarded, really do so at their own peril. Ironically and coincidentally these are the same folks that tend to be the ones who gripe and complain that their businesses are not doing well. Could there be a correlation?
What type of person would you prefer to communicate with?
Courteous, concise and professional?
Or, terse, confusing and cryptic?
E-mail is No Excuse to Not Write Well
Let’s be clear. We are not discussing personal e-mail communications today. Yes, business e-mail can be “informal” to an extent. Based on your company’s brand, culture and how well you know the person you are e-mailing varying levels of formality make sense.
However, there is nothing informal about business communications — e-mail included. Look at it this way, Business E-mail Etiquette basically covers a set of common courtesies and basic writing skills that everyone can follow to ensure they are perceived positively.
And that builds your brand and your business! Who would argue with that?
Make the Profitable Choice
To make the choice to minimize the importance of business e-mail etiquette best practices says a lot about a person. Are they lazy? Uneducated? Or is it that they just don’t care? That determination will be left to the folks who are on the receiving end. Why take that risk when it is so easy to avoid?
What does it say when…
- …the e-mail subject in not related or concise?
- …there is no greeting — just right into what they want?
- …the e-mail is filled with incomplete sentences, poor grammar, misspellings abound?
- …time is not taken to ensure that intent and tone are clear?
- …questions are rattled off and demands are made without any context or courtesy?
- …no indication of appreciation for the recipient’s time?
The above things were missing from several e-mail communications I received just today. From folks who would label themselves as serious business owners. Professional? I’m not so sure.
Yes, it is your choice to not make these minuscule extra efforts. It is your choice to not reflect basic writing skills and courtesy for those you communicate with.
Oh, and by the way, your competitors thank you!
“The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.”
George Eliot (1819 – 1880)