10 Business Email Dos and Don’ts

Consumer insights on business email

When doing research for another post I came across the following list that has been around awhile but is still very relevant given the number of business emails we write and send each day.

I urge you to share this list with the people with whom you work as well as those who are working directly with customers and prospects.

  1. DON’T send or forward chain e-mails.
  2. DON’T put anything in an email that you don’t want the world to see.
  3. DON’T write a Message in capital letters—this is the equivalent of SHOUTING.
  4. DON’T routinely “cc” everyone all the time. Reducing inbox clutter is a great way to increase communication.
  5. DON’T hit Send until you spell-check your email.
  6. DO use a subject line that summarizes your Message, adjusting it as the Message changes over time.
  7. DO make your request in the first line of your email. (And if that’s all you need to say, stop there!)
  8. DO end your email with a brief sign-off such as, “Thank you,” followed by your name and contact information.
  9. DO think of a work email as a binding communication.
  10. DO let others know if you’ve received an email in error.

Source: Adapted from information in Leland, K., & Bailey, K. (2000). Customer service for dummies. New York: Wiley; Information Technology Services (1997). Top 10 email dos and top ten email don’ts. Retrieved July 1, 2008, from the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center Web site: http://www.uic.edu/hsc/uicmc/its/customers/email-tips.htm; Kawasaki, G. (2006, February 3). The effective emailer. Retrieved July 1, 2008, from How to Change the World Web site: http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2006/02/the_effective_e.html.

Only 7% of what is conveyed in a verbal conversation come from the words themselves.

55% of the nonverbal cues that communicate in a verbal conversation are missing in email.

It is very difficult to communicate emotion in an email, as such the recipient can easily miss the humor or sarcasm you intend to communicate.

I love email because it gives me an electronic record of correspondence; however, I also know it’s not the ideal vehicle for all communications.

Which of these 10 dos and don’ts resonate most with you and your day-to-day business communications?


About Insights From Analytics

Integrated marketing professional who generates insights from analytics to increase revenue. Daily blog now resides at www.insightsfromanalytics.com/blog.
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