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.
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
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!