3 Tips to Email Like a Pro
Even though email has become second nature in almost every industry’s day-to-day operations, the rules for great correspondence have somehow gotten lost on the information highway. Aside from the obvious policies like including relevant subject lines and using suitable language, there are some other grey areas that need straightening out.
Here’s an updated guide on email correspondence etiquette.
With a few exceptions, general courtesy is to respond to most emails within twenty-four hours. Obviously, this timeline varies depending on your position on the corporate ladder (which is a bit unfortunate for those starting out). For emails that require some time on your end to be replied to, a quick heads-up to the sender is appreciated. As a courtesy, them know what or whom exactly you’re waiting on, and how long it’ll take to get the information they need—versus waiting a week or more until you have that material. If you have a habit of forgetting to reply to emails in a timely manner, set reminders for yourself so you can stay on top of things and keep your connections—and reputation—well intact.
Though it can lead to disastrous results when used accidentally, intentional frequent use of the “reply all” feature can also cause serious grief and frustration in the office. While it’s generally good to keep your co-workers in the loop, many people do not appreciate being included in a thread when it’s no longer relevant to them. Before you hit “reply all,” take a couple seconds to decide who actually needs your response. Even if there’s already a lot of back-and-forth, it’s an easy way to stay on your colleagues’ good side.
For the most part, you’re completely entitled to sending a polite reminder email in the form of a follow-up if you haven’t heard back in awhile and your email is still relevant. For issues that aren’t necessarily time-sensitive, it’s appropriate to send another email about a week later. Be sure to includes your original note in the body for their reference. For more pressing matters, a short message within twenty-four to forty-eight hours expressing your understanding of the person’s busy schedule and respectfully explaining your deadline is a professional way to handle the situation and get what you need.
In regards to emails in general, when in doubt, go by the Golden Rule: think of how you’d like your email to be treated if you were in the other person’s shoes, and vice-versa. There’s no such thing as being too considerate!
What are your email pet peeves? Tell me on twitter @myturnstone or @officestylist.