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5 Email Etiquette Tips for your Business

1. Send professional messages.

Think carefully about what you say and how you say it. Use professional language rather than slang terms and avoid using popular internet abbreviations like BTW or LOL. Keep your e-mail messages clear and concise, and if you’re asking someone for information, include a time-frame in which you need their reply.

2. Avoid spam and virus outbreaks.

E-mail is the most common way that computer viruses are spread and business e-mails are just as susceptible to virus attacks as home e-mail addresses. As we mentioned in our post on virus protection, don’t open e-mails from unknown or suspicious sources and use a virus protection program to scan files that you do open.

Spam e-mails are more than just unwanted junk mail. They clog up networks and servers, effectively getting in the way of your business. Don’t contribute to spam. Avoid the urge to forward chain e-mails, jokes, and cute kitten videos. Additionally, you can control the amount of junk e-mailing coming in by avoiding giving out your e-mail address to every organization and e-mail newsletter list that requests it. Consider using a free web-based e-mail address, like Gmail or Yahoo, for your newsletter subscriptions instead. 

3. Learn to use CC: and BCC: appropriately.

Most e-mail clients have carbon copy (CC:) and blind carbon copy (BCC:) functions that enable senders to include recipients who may need to be aware of an e-mail but aren’t the primary recipient.

When copying others on an e-mail, be certain that the topic pertains to them. Don’t send e-mails to people who are not involved in or impacted by an issue.

Use the BCC: feature sparingly. If you find yourself frequently needing to include recipients secretly, you may want to consider taking the conversation offline.

4. Use attachments wisely.

File attachments can take up a lot of server space and network bandwidth, so be smart about sending files via e-mail. Limit yourself to small files (less than 2MB) and don’t attach more than five files to an e-mail message to avoid clogging up the network. When receiving an e-mail with attachments, download the files to your local hard drive and delete the message from the server, freeing up space. 

5. Think twice. 

E-mail isn’t always the best way to communicate. Some topics are better discussed in person or over the phone. If you need to discuss a topic that might be upsetting (or that your client is already upset about), try picking up the phone. Giving more personal attention and letting them hear the genuine tone in your voice may help you resolve the problem. Likewise, if you realize you’ve exchanged 25 e-mails with your co-worker across the room, try paying a visit to their desk to talk in person. Chances are, you’ll both save time and confusion by speaking directly.

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