Have you ever found yourself reading and re-reading an email to your boss before clicking send? What’s the proper format for emailing a client?
Email still reigns supreme in the business world as the most popular form of communication. And until that changes, you’ll want to make sure you have the right digital manners when interacting with superiors, clients, and co-workers.
Here are some of the current best practices for professional email etiquette in 2020.
This tip may vary depending on your industry or workplace culture, but as a general rule, emails are not the place for emoticons, jargon, or slang. Remember, email isn’t text messaging, so don’t treat the two platforms the same. There’s nothing wrong with contractions, but shortcuts like “Gr8” and “u” just don’t belong.
Short and sweet is the name of the game when it comes to writing emails. Get to the point and sign off. It’s hard to say how many words an email should be, but here are a few interesting stats. According to Boomerang, emails between 50 and 125 words have the best response rate. That said, you can have too few words as well. Emails less than 10 words get a response only 36% of the time.
3. Greetings and sign-offs
There’s no need to overthink your greeting. A simple “Hi” will work. When addressing someone specific, think about the industry you're in. Addressing people you don't know on a first-name basis may be common, but it may be a different story in other industries. When signing off, always include your call to action. People should be reminded of the email’s purpose when they finish reading. If you’re looking for a response or to further a conversation, make sure to include that as well.
4. Subject lines
Some people get more than 40 to 50 emails a day. Some more. In many cases, your subject line will determine whether your email is ever opened. It’s imperative that your email gets to the point. It should be simple, yet descriptive of the contents. If it’s time sensitive, it may be worth adding that in the subject line.
Repeat after me. No comic sans. Your emails should use a standard default font and color. These fonts are often easiest to read and won’t distract the recipient from the message. Stick with plain serif or sans serif fonts because they read better digitally. Your best options include Arial, Calibri, Cambria, or Helvetica.
Bonus: Variance between Industries
As briefly mentioned above, email etiquette can vary significantly from industry to industry. For example, in the legal field, the contents of an email are highly confidential and can include sensitive matters regarding a client or your strategy for an upcoming hearing. If you accidently share the wrong file with the wrong recipient, you could potentially lose the privilege of a confidential document. If you work in sales, your approach may be a little less conservative. A sales email will blend flattery, clear calls to action, and lots of testing beforehand to determine which emails will have the best response rates.
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