A good signature, no capital letters and no kisses have been named as some of the key pieces of advice for writing the perfect email. Experts at officebroker.com asked a focus group of office workers to find the top ten pieces of advice when writing work emails.
Other advice included keeping the email short but polite, the rules over cc and bcc and the use of text speak.
A spokesperson for officebroker.com commented on the importance of getting the tone of emails just right. “Getting the correct tone of your email is essential. Far too often people fall out because they misinterpret emails as being rude and abrasive, when the sender is just trying to be succinct. There are a series of unwritten rules when it comes to writing the perfect email, but for some people they need the rules spelling out to them,” he said.
Top 10 tips for perfect email etiquette
Finishing an email with a kiss (x) is one of the most controversial areas of email etiquette. Some people do it out of habit, others do it to try and curry favor. However, it makes most people feel very uncomfortable. The best advice is to never use them and if someone sends you one politely forget to send one back.
2. ‘Hi’ vs. ‘Dear’
Choosing the right way to start an email is essential to building a strong online relationship. Whilst acceptable, ‘dear’ sounds old fashioned and will make you come across as a bit of a fuddy-duddy, whereas ‘Hi’ creates a friendly and engaging tone.
3. The sign-off
Don’t just let your email signature do all the work, as this will look rude and impersonal so end with ‘thanks’ or ‘best’. If you are someone who is always short for time then add a personal sign off into your signature.
4. Short but sweet
If you are a very busy person then writing short emails maybe the most productive use of your time. However, not everyone you email will know this and your usual two-word communiqué could be read as curt or off-hand.
There are ways of getting round this. One is simply taking an extra second to think whom you are emailing; the other is to have (p.s.) added into your signature, which lets people know about your short replies.
5. The signature
A good email signature is one of the most vital elements of an email, and often the simpler the design the better. A company logo, basic contact information, links to your social media and a disclaimer are all you need.
Any more than that and it can be really distracting. A massive company logo is not necessary and neither is a picture of you.
6. Capital letters
If you write in capital letters it will come across as if you’re shouting, as will the use of exclamation marks.
Don’t be trigger happy with punctuation as well. Ending an angry question with ‘?!?!?!?!’ is a sure fire way to get someone’s back up.
7. The dangers of ‘reply all’
We have all heard the stories of people who have hit the reply all button to an email and sent something meant for just one person to the entire office.
This is at best embarrassing and at worst career damaging, so always double check that you click the correct reply button.
8. Cc vs. Bcc
This is a very subtle rule that many people often forget. If you need to send one email to many contacts think carefully before you use the cc box. Ask yourself, do all the recipients know each other or would they mind their email being shared.
If the answer to either is no, use the bcc box, it is just common courtesy to keep others addresses private.
9. LOL :-)
Abbreviations, emoticons and text-speak are becoming increasingly popular in work emails.
Perhaps not the best idea to use them when you are emailing someone for the first time but once a relationship is built they can be a great way to keep things light hearted.
10. Make sure you send it to the right person
Somewhat surprisingly, sending an email to the right person is incredibly important.
Often typing in a contact’s first name will bring up their email, however don’t fall into the trap of assuming the right address will appear.