I ran across an article indicating that 60-70% of businesses do not offer any email etiquette training. When I saw that, I wasn’t surprised. No wonder many employees, customer service reps, and business owners do not integrate proper practices. They don’t know.
Email Etiquette is a Required Business Skill
Whether looking for a job or in business, on or off-line, impressions are everything. And how you use email can make all the difference in your business success. Here’s an analogy for you.
Off-line, you notice what people wear, how they present themselves, and the quality or lack thereof regarding their business cards. The same applies online, except you don’t have those in-person visuals and tone of voice to rely on. That means you have to be even more detail-oriented.
You’ve probably found yourself forming impressions on first contact. For example, if you receive an email that is a one-liner, has no spell checking, has no proper sentence structure, or lacks basic grammar. What do you think? How does that reflect on that person or business? Probably not so good, right?
I’ve worked with all kinds of professionals over the past 27 years; some, unfortunately, assume they are more professional than their perceptions allow. It’s not that they are uneducated or rude — they do not realize the power of perception when it comes to their online communications.
Perception is Online Reality
From the homepage of this website…
I see this in my daily communications. Even with those I’ve had long-term business relationships with, who know that I have two email etiquette websites and several books on the topic.
They can appear terse, demanding, rude, uneducated, and lazy simply because they either are unaware of or choose not to practice business email etiquette staples. Some to the point where their emails are so unprofessional that I would not consider doing business with them if I did not otherwise know they are intelligent, credible, and very friendly.
Email Etiquette is Just Smart Business
Email etiquette isn’t brain surgery. Instead, it is a set of basic skills, considerations, and courtesies every business, business owner, and employee needs to know and practice.
You and your business can shine and thrive by building awareness and practicing these skills. I’ve had many business people relay to me how they are viewed much more seriously than their coworkers by just honing their email skills and emailing as a professional.
That then leads to career advancement. Who would you promote? The employee who emails like a grade-schooler or one who impresses with a polished communication style?
So, why are folks so resistant to something that can do nothing but reflect positively on their career or business? Well, after all these years, I honestly believe it is simply due to underestimating the power of email in day-to-day business communications.
Email is viewed as informal. However, nothing about running a successful business is informal.
Email is now a staple and expected communication channel. Unfortunately, many not being aware of the importance of email etiquette regarding their branding efforts will suffer the results.
Everything you do related to your business can and will impact your branding. Written, verbal, phone, and in-person communications display how you run your business. How you use email is now a critical part of that process.
Do you want to be outperformed by coworkers or your business competition? Of course not. So, at the very least, become familiar with and practice the basics yourself. Then lead by example.
Sit down with those who use your business email address and go through the basics. Have a conversation about email use and what is expected. Then, get a policy in place and let them know what you envision when emailing on behalf of your company.
By not using best email practices in your business communications and having your employees all on the same page, you will experience lost opportunities, misunderstandings, and a perception of your company that may be very difficult to recover from.
I see it happen every day — and it isn’t pretty…