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Email Etiquette: SmartPA's Guide to Best Practice

email etiquette

We use words to exchange information. Words can inform our minds or warm our feelings but also anger us or destroy our self-confidence. Although these are all metaphors, metaphors allow a physical reaction to be captured in words. Thus, showing the power that words have as they can move us emotionally as much as we can move physically.

How does this relate to business? Business relationships are built mainly through the exchange of words: telephone calls, emails, sales pitches and closing deals, to name a few. What we say is therefore a vital element in the success of our companies. We use technology now more than ever which increases the importance of words. For example, remote working is becoming more common. Additionally, the Virgin Media Business predict that 60% of people will work regularly from home by 2022. This means that we are, and continue to, communicate face-to-face less.

Communicating with someone over email means that you are not using body language or tone of voice -which normally accounts for a total of 93% of all communication. The words that you use therefore hold far more significance.


Words to avoid include:

1. “Just” – This minimises the significance of what you are saying
2. “Hopefully” – This shows that you have relinquished control over something.
3. “Actually” – This implies that you are lacking confidence in what you are saying.

Additionally, we show how a professional email should be structured below:

1. Use their name. It is also been shown that adding a “Hi” or “Dear” before their name encourages a positive relationship to be built.
2. Emote in your opening sentence.
3. Be concise but not snappy.
4. Try and mirror their tone of writing as it will help to build rapport.
5. Add your next steps.
6. End well.

We train our Virtual Administrators to think carefully about what they say and how they say it when managing email on behalf of a business.  It has been proven to make a difference in your business relationships. By adhering to these simple rules of email etiquette, strong relationships can be built. And strong relationships are the basis to running a successful company.