Written forms of communication have all but taken the place of phone calls. Texting and commenting through social media are how friends tend to keep in touch since the advent of the smart phone. Emoticons, smiley faces, and stickers let the other person know the tone of what you’re saying. They’re a pretty effective way to portray emotion in writing, but are generally not appropriate for email. Instead, proper use of etiquette can help mitigate statements or questions that may come off as blunt or rude otherwise.
As Emails are a standard form of communication worldwide, etiquette is essential to effective communication and avoiding miscommunication or misunderstandings. Each email in a professional setting must meet the formalities of the context, or run the risk of failing to demonstrate an adequate level of respect for the recipient. Respect must be maintained at all times, and each email should meet the conventions laid out in business letter format in terms of tone and salutations (each email should not necessarily be dated and titled though as that is generally done only with the initial email or first contact).
An email lacking proper salutations, complete sentences, or even an email that uses a casual tone can come off as rude. For example, read the following excerpt from an email that an employee sent to their boss regarding an absence.
I was really sick yesterday. Sorry. Feeling better. If anyone needs me I’ll be at me desk trying to get caught up.
In this email, we get the sense that Greg doesn’t really care that much about missing work the day before. As missing an entire day of work could disrupt the productivity of his company, he should be more apologetic. Revising this message to reflect a more business-like tone will in itself communicate that he does take the fact that he missed a day of work seriously. Here’s an example of how his brief, informal email could be revised:
I am very sorry for missing work yesterday. I was out sick with a cold, but I am feeling much better. I am back at my desk today should anyone have any questions or concerns. I will do my best to get caught up on what I missed while I was out as soon as possible. Thank you very much.
As seen here, proper email etiquette makes a huge difference. Miscommunications from not using proper email etiquette could strain a work relationship, causing the recipient to feel brushed off or disrespected. To prevent anyone from holding a grudge on you for being too short or too informal, you should always use appropriate email etiquette. It will protect you from costly misunderstandings, even if you sound a little stiff at times. .