Manners matter, mate

The Internet has obviously blurred the boundaries of social etiquette. For instance, we can easily address a complete stranger on the Internet and strike up a conversation here more often than we do in real life. We let ourselves use shortened words and texting abbreviations even when we are not limited by the certain amount of characters, and we certainly tend to type quick and think very little when replying to someone's email, compensating the lack of proper forethought with emoji.

Well, it's time we gave up these bad habits, particularly when corresponding with colleagues, clients and business partners. You are, of course, familiar with some basic rules of email etiquette. If you automatically end your letters with cliché sign-offs like “Best regards” or “Sincerely yours” (btw, you’d better use this one carefully, because it seems to be reckoned old-fashioned) you have certainly learned the nuts and bolts of it. In this short article, we’ll cover some general principles of writing a professional business email letter.

Why so serious?

Every email you send out there has a direct impact on your reputation and builds up your personal image on the Internet (which then extends to your real life as well), thus it should be of crucial importance to you to carefully think everything you write through. Every email of yours should be professional and neutral, do not use emails if you have to conduct a serious discussion with someone or negotiate something complicated – use your phone for such matters. Everything you write in an email will stay there, so you’d better not write anything harsh as well. Need to reprimand someone? Again, just phone them.

Her Majesty the Politeness

Professional courtesy should become your philosophy and one true religion while managing your business! Be always polite, always stable and respectful to everyone both in your real life and on the Internet. Do not cross borders. When writing an email, treat your every correspondent like he is no less than the Queen of England herself and continue doing so, unless he clearly states that his name is not Elizabeth and you can, in fact, call him Jimmy instead of Mr. Brown. Someone would say this approach is a bit outdated, wouldn’t they?

Nowadays, everyone struggles to instantly act so-o-o friendly and easy-going that sometimes it borders on familiarity. Besides, treating your partner like your "bestie" from the first minute doesn't seem like a winning strategy, such an approach simply erases the proper development of your professional relationship. In the business environment, especially in the first instance, it is essential to keep a distance and be strictly professional. No one wants to befriend every single person he’s doing business with, so forget this kindergarten nonsense and go make money like serious people do.

Remember that time is money

What is your personal best score of days ignoring email letters? At first, you do not have enough time to reply or maybe you just can’t think of WHAT to reply and then, as the time goes by, it becomes harder and harder to sit down and write a substantial answer along with a proper excuse, doesn’t it? C’mon, we all have our busy days and sometimes it seems like we are being attacked by our own inboxes, but do not drag your feet on replying to your colleagues and business partners, ‘cause time, as the headline kindly reminds us, is money. The general rule is to reply within 24 hours to the most topical issues and within a week if the matter is not so important, although do bear in mind that some people would expect you to react much sooner.

Do not smile ;(

Since the only way to smile to your correspondent on the Internet is through emoji… Please, do not do it. Emoji should be absolutely banned from business letters as well as slang words, shortened words and so on. If you have an urgent need to show someone your Hollywood smile – do use Skype.

Check your spelling

Making mistakes is natural to every human being, but make sure to reduce the number of grammar mistakes in your business letter. People are judgy, you know, they subconsciously like feeling superior to others and they would use a simple grammar mistake from your letter to get that feeling. If you are not one hundred percent sure of your knowledge, there is no need in cramming all those grammar books in one night, just get yourself a specially-trained secretary to do the editing job for you or simply install some automatic grammar checker. Anyway, remember that your letter should be as flawless as possible to convince your correspondent that you’re reliable, intelligent and overall pleasure to do business with.

All's well that ends well

That is a very sensible saying and it is particularly true when we speak about writing emails. Well, how should we end our letters, folks? With a typical sign-off like one of those mentioned above in the article? Wrong! To make your business correspondence truly perfect do not forget to generate yourself a professional email signature, therefore your business partners will always know how to quickly get in touch with you. And that’s the ultimate goal of business correspondence – to raise awareness of yourself!
Creating an email signature that would work a treat in the development of your business is a whole other story so be sure to check out our article on the basic principles of working with MySignature service and get that signature ASAP.

Ostap is a marketing professional (PMM) with 5+ years of experience in the software industry (B2B and B2C). Having worked with email marketing products and services, Ostap has a deep understanding of various email marketing strategies and solutions.