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Updated 26 Feb 2020


The ins and outs of email etiquette

There is no escaping emails. Don’t let poor email etiquette damage your reputation. Here are a couple of email tips for you to consider before you press the ‘send’ button. 


Regine le Roux, 13 June 2016  Share  0 comments  Print


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Confess, are you guilty of sending emails at midnight? You may think to yourself that it is a great time to catch up on admin and to clear your Inbox; however have you considered what underlying message you may be sending with these witching hour mails.

On the one hand you may be thinking that you are showing the recipient your professionalism by working so hard and so late. Personally, I am not convinced that anyone is at top of their game at midnight.

A message that you’re sending is that you don’t quite have a handle on a work/life balance. If you are up this late, how awake and productive are you the next day? Even though we are living in the technology era, and the Generation Y teams want flexibility, everyone does need to switch off at some point.

Related: There’s more to email than just send/receive

A couple of email tips for you to consider before you press the ‘send’ button:

Timing

As an entrepreneur it is important that you have a balance in life; if you don’t recharge your batteries sufficiently, you’re not going to be able to play at your A game during the hours that your clients and team need you. Refrain from sending emails after 19:00 at night or before 07:00 in the morning. This also allows you to double check context, content, spelling and grammar before sending.

Check your spelling and grammar

When you’re tired with a million things on your ‘to do’ list, grammar and spelling seem like a nuisance; you just want to get to the bottom of what seems like a bottomless Inbox pit.

It’s the little things that matter and that can have a big impact on how you are perceived and ultimately your reputation. Get into good email habits sooner rather than later. Spelling and grammar matters, a lot.

Sending emails that you’ve taken care to re-read and check that your spelling is correct with punctuation marks used correctly,shows the recipient that you respect them and the time they spend reading your correspondence. No one enjoys unscrambling garble.

Length

Less is more when it comes to emails; yes there are times when longer emails are needed to confirm details so that an audit trail can be kept. However, more often than not, the content of an email can be reduced significantly.

Cut to the chase, let the recipient know exactly what you need from them and by when, this will also help them to prioritise accordingly. If more detail is needed, pick up the phone and discuss it and then confirm what was agreed in an email.

Related: 8 Email marketing tips for online retailers

Email -sent

Add the recipients last

I’m sure you’ve all had that moment where you have sent an email to the wrong recipient and knowing that there is just no way of retrieving it. By adding the recipients last you have a chance to go over the content of the mail, grammar and spelling one last time before hitting the send button.

Reply within 24 hours

This is A LOT easier said than done. Our American ECCO partner prides themselves in a three-hour turnaround time on e-mails. Email etiquette literature says that you should reply to all emails. However know when to draw the line to replying; acknowledge the mail but avoid a to-and-fro of “great” and “thank you” mails.

Set time aside to check emails

No, that time should not be midnight.  Instead of checking mail throughout the day, what I’ve found works well is to allocate specific timeslots in the morning and in the afternoon to check emails, otherwise your whole day becomes consumed by mails. This increases your productivity for getting down to doing actual work and avoiding distractions.

Related: Email marketing

To continue the reputation management conversation, join Regine on Twitter @ReputationIsKey or Facebook www.facebook.com/yourreputationmatters.

Do you have a reputation management question? Send your query through to Regine on: [email protected]

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About the author


Regine le Roux

Regine is a corporate reputation specialist. She completed her Communication Management Honours degree Cum Laude at the University of Pretoria in 2001, and completed her MCom within a year. Regine is the founder of Reputation Matters, which was started in 2005; she hand picks and manages several teams that implement communication strategies. Regine developed the Repudometer®, which is one of the first tools that has been developed to measure organisational reputation.

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