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Email Etiquette

Email is one of the most popular means of communication within the workplace; in fact, roughly 90% of all workers who have access to the Internet during their workday use it to write and send emails. People prefer email for good reason - it's fast, efficient, and easier, as many people will opt to send an email than pick up the phone and try to get a hold of someone or make a trip to someone's office.

However, when using emails for business correspondence, there are certain rules of etiquette that should be followed in order to leave a good impression on coworkers and superiors and come across as knowledgeable and polite.

The following are some things to keep in mind when sending business emails:
Use email for appropriate, business-related purposes only. If you utilize a business email account, make sure the emails you are sending from that account are business-related only. Not only do many employees monitor company emails, but you business email account is not the account to use to send jokes, forwarded messages, video clips, or photographs.
Be brief. Your message should be succinct and to the point. Write your email in a way that it is as brief as possible without leaving out pertinent information or without coming across as abrupt.
Use the appropriate tone. While it is difficult to define "tone" in specific terms, make sure your email comes across as polite and friendly. Avoid sounding too casual, especially when writing to business associates; for example, if you were addressing your boss, avoid opening the email with "Hey, what up?" Tone can also come across in the writing; avoid using all caps, which conveys shouting, and avoid using all lowercase. Sometimes, people use emoticons (little faces made into smiles or frowns by arranging parentheses, colons, and semi-colons) to convey a certain tone. This is alright you are writing to someone you have a less formal relationship with. But if you are writing to clients, prospective employers, or superiors, these emoticons should be avoided.
Avoid abbreviations. Emails should be brief, but not too brief. Abbreviations such as "thx" (thanks), "plz," "u," or "2" (instead of to or too) are inappropriate for the workplace and are best left to teenage chat rooms and instant messages.
Always use spell and grammar check. Prospective employers, current employers, and coworkers will more than likely be turned off from you if your email is riddled with spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Read over your email several times before sending it and make sure it is error-free and makes sense; once you hit send, there's no going back!
Know when to stop. As a general rule, if the person you are writing to you has a higher position than you, you should always send the last email (unless his/her email was a "thanks.") For example, if you wrote an email to your boss requesting a document and he emailed it to you, be sure to follow-up with a "thank-you." However, if your boss asks you for something, you send it to him, and he sends an email that says nothing more than "thank you," it is not necessary to reply, "You're welcome."

Emails are a convenient part of life in an office that, at some point, most people will have to deal with. Writing emails with the correct format leaves a good impression on your bosses and co-workers.

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