Michael Levin: 15 Key Rules of E-Mail Etiquette and How to Write High Impact E-Mails
I consistently hear from my clients how frustrated they are with E-mails. How many of you experience any of the following?
- You receive way too many E-Mails to handle or respond to on a daily basis.
- Being included in “Reply-All’s or “FYI’s” when there is no need.
- Lengthy E-Mails with too much data.
- Not getting responses back or responses taking too long, especially when it impacts your customers.
- Inappropriate E-Mails, either those that shouldn’t be shared or E-Mails sent in the heat of the moment, that end up causing conflicts.
- E-Mails being sent that damage either internal or customer relationships.
These are just a sampling of the common complaints I hear. When I teach E-Mail etiquette and how to write high impact E-Mails, to improve both professionalism and productivity, there is certainly much more than just this Top 15 to discuss. At the same time, I believe you’ll find this list can be a helpful start.
In this article, I’m going to share numbers 1-8 with you on E-Mail etiquette and how to write more effective and high impact E-Mails.
- Keep the message short. Ideally 75 words or less. Clearly if the E-Mail requires more and the recipient has asked for more details provide it. Otherwise try and keep your E-Mails brief and to the point.
- Format your E-Mails so they are very easy to read and, if scanned, the reader gets the gist.
- Assume your reader gets 200+ E-Mails per day (as many of you know, this is not unusual). Think about how you write your E-Mail to get the attention you need while being respectful of their time.
- Be thoughtful about hitting “Reply All”. Take people off who don’t need to be copied or shouldn’t be copied.
- Be careful about sending E-Mails with multiple recipients when, if any of them hit reply all, they may say something that could hurt or ruin relationships.
- Re-read your E-Mail to make sure it reads well. Ensure there are no grammatical errors or typos.
- Enter the E-Mail address only when your E-Mail is ready to be sent. This can reduce the risk of any misfires.
- Be thoughtful about E-Mails you forward. Does the recipient really need the FYI?
In my next article, I’ll provide my rules 9-15 for you.