Monday, June 10, 2013

Email Etiquette

The Professional Gal.

A mixture of insight, a different dose of perspective, a touch of wisdom, and mostly concern...

So it has happened to us all before (and if it has not happened to you yet, it will!), that email that when read for the first time comes across as blatantly rude. Whether that was your interpretation or the intention of the email-is yet to be determined; however what you can control is your "reply" to this email. And your response can help make your career or start the bridge burning process.

It never fails that we inevitably will receive an email from a supervisor, a peer, or another employee that will rub us the wrong way. Sometimes the intention of the email is to offend, reprimand, or just read completely the wrong way.  But this the problem with the technology that we possess and it will only get worse as more and more people become comfortable with emailing and the use of good simple language/writing skills seems to become ever more obsolete.

It was not too long ago that an email would have been a face to face conversation or even an office wide memo. Therefore, leaving in the ability to interpret ones conversation. However, with email we lack the ability to get facial que's, tone, and other bodily language that would allow us to better assess the situation. But we are human and many of the things that we encounter everyday are left up to our interpretation, just avoid the instant reaction to those.

So let’s talk email…

Example: "The back handed compliment"

“Hi Sarah,
I am glad that you decided to turn down the position that I offered you. I really should have considered the rest of my team prior to make offering you such position.


“Good Afternoon Jane,
Thank you for the opportunity and I wish you best of luck in the future.

-Avoids confrontation-even if you feel like being that way
-Keeps the conversation positive
-Shuts down the conversation and leaves little room for misinterpretation

Example: "The habitual complainer"

“Good Morning John,
When reviewing your presentation I had a difficult time understanding why we utilized the numbers that we did.  The information that was given seemed pretty high level; and although that is the target audience maybe we should be a little more specific. Also, I do not think it gets the point across-it seems a little too broad.
Best Regards,


“Hello Joe,
Thanks for your input. Please feel free to schedule some time for us together and discuss your concerns with the presentation.

-This shuts the conversation down and leaves little room for misinterpretation.
-Places the action back on the person who possess the opinion. If someone has a “great” idea and gives it to you after the fact, than it is the responsibility of the person with the great idea to help you see and understand their vision. 

Remember, a lot can be lost in an email/text. You never want to leave any room for misinterpretation because you never know who is going to come across that email. (i.e. who it will be forwarded, who is BCC-ed., who it will be seen by at the printer, ect.)

A few easy tips for email etiquette:
1. Always start with a greeting

            “Good Morning/Afternoon” or “Hello”

2. Never assume that the receiver knows you very well, unless they truly do

A lot get lost in emails when you are not able to read body language to hear the tone of someone’s voice.

3. Never use inappropriate language

            All words that could be considered flagrant or slang are out of the question.

4. Avoid emoticons
           They truly lack professionalism (and should only be used in personal emails and never professional emails.
            J/ L

5. If you have a situation where you want to respond negatively. DO NOT email type it out as a word document and save it. Then come back to the document 24 hours later and determine if the message is still appropriate.

This gives you time to cool off and maybe gain a better perspective on how you want to come across and avoids sending a confrontational email before you press “SEND.” Once the email is sent, there is very little you can do to retract a document that has been placed in writting.

Be a part of a team. Lead with integrity. Remain committed to your core values.


The Young & Professional Gal

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