By Patrick M. Hayes, Jr.
With so many technological changes, advances, and necessities, it can be easy to forget where we come from and what we are trying to accomplish. On countless occasions, I catch myself staring blankly at the computer screen screen when I’m trying to write a business email, asking myself:
- Where should I start
- What should I write?
- How should I write it?
Sometimes I just want to scribble something quick and be done with it, but then I think about what I am doing. I’m not just texting somebody; I’m corresponding. Making a post or sending an email is a type of formal communication, especially in a professional or educational setting. I am sending an electronic letter. So how would I send a letter if I were doing it the old-fashioned way (picture a bottle of ink, a quill, and parchment with fancy cursive writing)?
Etiquette Tips for Business Emails (and Other Electronic Correspondences)
Address the Recipient
Respect and professionalism are immediately apparent in an email or post that properly addresses the person on the receiving end (i.e. a simple Hi, Hello, or Dear that is followed by the person’s name or standing).
Using professional and appropriate grammar is essential in professional writing. Not only does it convey that you respect the recipient, but it represents you as a current or prospective professional. It is easy to revert to a quick texting format, especially in a hurry, but don’t let yourself get caught in this trap. Be sure to:
- Use full sentences
- Use concise paragraphs
- Avoid too many bolded or italicized words
- Check your spelling
A Good Sign Off
When I watch a film or read a book, the ending is always the part that sticks with me the most. The same is true for emails and blackboard posts. Try to leave your recipient with something positive, and use a personal sign off before your name (i.e. Sincerely, Best Wishes, Best, Warm Regards, Regards, Thank you).
These are just a few tips and tools for using proper netiquette. There are so many resources out there. Sometimes I turn to sites like these, Netiquette Rules, and Business Writing – just to keep up to date.
Patrick M. Hayes, Jr. is currently a Graduate Academic Advisor at Southern New Hampshire University. With a B.A. in English and an M.F.A. in Film and Writing, he has worked on a number of creative projects, including films, plays, and literature. After graduate school, Patrick spent some time traveling before returning to New Hampshire to help guide SNHU’s English and Creative Writing students.