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Main Content

Phone and Email Etiquette

Saying or writing something stupid in the office is the quickest way to an unplanned career change. Why, then, do so many people put so little thought into their email or phone conversations? Try injecting some etiquette into your communications and you might just make new friends and influence co-workers, customers, or prospects.

Phone etiquette:

  • Always have a purpose for your call

  • State your name and reason for the call

  • Ask if it’s a convenient time to talk (you’d be surprised how overlooked this one is and how much time it could save you)

  • Keep conversations brief and to the point

  • If you have to leave a message, be concise and  choose your words carefully.

  • Stick to what you need, your timeline, and contact information.

  • Repeat your phone number twice

  • Speak slowly

Email etiquette:

  • Don’t use email in place of a phone call or personal meeting (especially when you need immediate answers)

  • Frequently save your email as you are writing so that you don’t end up losing any work

  • Proofread (twice!) before you hit the send button

  • Don’t use uppercase or excessive punctuation, as this may indicate a certain tone you may not want to convey – and one others won’t be receptive to

  • Use bold and italics sparingly – for emphasis only.

  • Reference attachments in the body of the message

  • Be succinct. Save the longer conversations for phone calls or in-person meetings.

  • Give direct instructions as to what you need or clearly state what you are responsible for (i.e., next steps) Indicate timeline and protocol for follow-up

  • Select a subject line that is targeted and relevant to your overall message

  • Be cautious when “replying to all”. Make sure that the original email warrants a reply to all parties.

  • Don’t write anything in an email that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face!