Being I have a bunch of my own websites and participate in many others, I probably am involved in more written communications than most. Whether that be groups, forums or communities, and email. I get lots of emails.
While businesses have dramatically improved on their email communications over the years, what I still see is business folks dropping the bar in public and private communications. Including employee-to-employee communications.
When it comes to business, formality matters, your approach to your written communications should always put your best foot forward when using a business email address. Always.
Recently an individual emailed me stating that I was making a “big deal” out of nothing. This was an email in response to an interview I did on the topic. This person's email lacked a greeting, proper punctuation, and sentence structure.
In response, I simply asked, would he put the email he sent to me in the same format and verbiage on his business letterhead? Crickets.
Business professionals communicate like business professionals at all times. That's what true professionals do. It's also what separates the wheat from the chaffe.
While some assume that email is an informal communications tool — that assumption can cost business. Email etiquette and proper technology use should be part of any business's best practices.
That is why I have promoted the topic for decades across this and my other websites.
- [email protected]: Everything Everyday Email Etiquette
- BusinessEmailEtiquette.com: Business Email and Technology Etiquette for Professionals
I consider these websites and my book my contribution to the online world. Trust me; there's no money in “email etiquette.” But as long as the websites get traffic and I see clients that can use coaching on these topics, I'm going to keep tapping away at this keyboard.
Yeah, Business Email Etiquette IS a Thing
This person said that all this “email etiquette stuff” really doesn't matter if you do a good job, if people know you and run an established business. So who do I think I am setting these rules? “Who made you judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to email?” Executioner? Yikes!
This, to me, is the wrong perspective on the topic. In business, formality matters, and being professional is what allows you to build your relationships. So who would you prefer to do business with? The person you can count on to be professional at all times or the person who tosses that aside the minute they believe they can?
The smarties know that communicating like a professional who has command of their language and the technology they are participating in is just smart business. It is good for their brand — and bottom line.
First Impressions Could be the Last
Everyone judges you by your email, whether you know it or not. I'm sure you've done the same, if only subconsciously. I just wrote about someone on my business email blog that uses his email etiquette skills to his advantage. And boy, are folks impressed.
It is natural then to wonder how those who abstain from proper business email and technology practices run other aspects of their business. If they don't take the time to communicate as an educated professional, what else are they cutting corners on? Or maybe they don't prioritize? Could this company be sketchy — maybe I should find someone else to spend my hard-earned dollars with?
Perception is the Only Reality
You cannot care enough about how you are perceived, especially in the rabidly competitive arena of online business. Your Brand is at stake.
Most business savvy folks get up early in the morning, take a shower, iron their clothes, groom their hair. All because they care about how they look, and they want to make that all-important good impression with anyone they meet throughout their business day.
Not necessarily because of what others may think alone but also because they want to put their best foot forward. At all times. You never know when opportunity will walk through your door, send you an email, want to have a meeting.
When you send an email in all lower case, filled with typos and grammatical errors, what is the person on the other side of the screen to think about what it will be like to do business with you? No opening greeting or closing, and you are perceived as bossy or terse. Yeah, who doesn't want to do business with someone like that?
Those who know you very well will probably shrug their shoulders and wonder why you don't make these simple efforts to communicate like the professional they know you are. While those who do not know you will form an impression about your business, attention to detail, and credibility.
First impressions happen, even when you are not looking. You have control over what that will be. Many times you only have one chance to rise above your perceived competitors. Why not make an effort to practice proper Business Email and Technology Etiquette so that you have that edge?
The benefits are many and believe me — it won't hurt — I promise.
At your service,