The Art of Professionalism

The one thing that totally drives me insane is an unprofessional email for professional purposes. I know, the world is changing, people are changing, and etiquette is becoming a thing of the past.

Yet, every day I get tons (exaggerating) emails with no contact details and no email signature. I don’t expect a kind regards, but how do I engage with you if I know that an email will not suffice?

If your mail provider does not enable you to setup a standard signature, activate grammar and spell check, it is time to change.

A company needs to implement etiquette rules for the following three reasons:

Professionalism: by using proper email language your company will convey a professional image.

Efficiency: emails that get to the point are much more effective than poorly worded emails.

Protection from liability: employee awareness of email risks will protect your company from costly lawsuits.

There are many etiquette guides and many different etiquette rules. Some rules will differ according to the nature of your business and the corporate culture. Below is the list of most important email etiquette rules that apply to nearly all companies.

  • Be concise and to the point.
  • Answer all questions and pre-empt further questions.
  • Use proper spelling, grammar & punctuation
  • Make it personal.
  • Use templates for frequently used responses.
  • Answer swiftly.
  • Do not attach unnecessary files.
  • Use proper structure & layout.
  • Do not overuse the high priority option.
  • Do not write in CAPITALS

Dawn Rosenberg McKay ( in her October 2018 article goes into more detail, and worth the read, worth the share… Let us bring back email etiquette!

  1. Mind Your Manners

Even in a world where we are rushing to get things done as quickly as possible in order to move on to the next task, take the time to use good manners in your email. Don’t neglect to say “please” and “thank you.”

When addressing people you don’t know well or at all, or with whom you only have a formal relationship, address them by their title and last name, unless they have asked you to do otherwise. For example, say “Dear Mr. White” or “Dear Ms. Grey.” If you are replying to an email and the sender of the original message has signed it with his or her first name only, then you can safely assume it’s okay to address them in the same way.

  1. Watch Your Tone

Tone is how you, as a writer, can express your attitude in an email message. It influences how it is received. You usually want to make sure to come across to the recipient as respectful, friendly, and approachable. You don’t want to sound curt or demanding. Reread your message several times before hitting send.

When writing to someone with whom you’ve communicated before, begin by saying something friendly like “I hope you are well.” While emojis may help you convey tone more easily, refrain from using them in professional email unless you are writing to someone with whom you have a very informal relationship. Never use them when writing to a prospective employer.

It is always considered poor email etiquette to write an email or a portion of one in all uppercase letters. It will make you look like you are shouting.

  1. Be Concise

Busy people have neither the time or inclination to spend more than a minute reading an individual email. If you want to allow your recipient to read your message quickly, and still understand it, you must keep it brief.

Don’t leave out pertinent details, however. Make sure your message clearly conveys your reason for writing it in the first place. Nobody saves time if you end up having a back and forth while you try to explain the details you omitted.

  1. Avoid Using Texting Abbreviations
  2. Even though you want to save time, you shouldn’t use texting abbreviations in your professional email. If you text a lot, as many people do, you may be accustomed to using a sort of shorthand to speak to your friends. For example, you may use “u,” “ur,” and “plz” instead of “you,” “your,” and “please.” These abbreviations have no place in business correspondence unless the recipient is someone with whom you have a casual relationship.

    1. Use a Professional Email Address

    For messages related to your current job, always use the email address your employer assigned to you. However, you should never use it to send messages that are unrelated to your job, for example, if you are looking for a new one. Use a personal email account instead.

    If you don’t have a personal account, for example, the one your internet service provider provided when you signed up for service, get a free email account. Use Gmail or another service to set up an address that sounds professional. Don’t use anything silly or suggestive. Your first initial and last name or your full name are appropriate choices.

    1. Don’t Forget Spelling and Grammar Count

    It is imperative that you proofread your email carefully. Never neglect this critical step, no matter how busy you are. The things you want to be attentive to are correct spelling and proper grammar. In addition to spelling common words correctly, you also want to spell people’s names right, including that of your recipient and the name of his or her company.

    Be careful about relying too heavily on spell-checkers. They may not notice misspellings of words when used incorrectly. For example, a spell-checker won’t flag the word “to” in the sentence, “I have to questions for you,” even though, in this context, it should be “two.” Double check spellings you are unsure of by using a free online dictionary like Merriam-Webster.

    Contact the SALT team to provide you with the best email solution that will help your company achieve your goals.

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