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Email Etiquette Virtual Seminar

Apr 01, 2022

By Mark Baulo

In 2021, there were almost 320 Billion emails sent every day. All types of organizations rely on emails for communication, whether you’re updating a colleague on a report, on the receiving end of a sale promotion, or sending out cold emails to new prospects, emails have become quite the essential part of our day to day lives. That’s why it is equally important to have the proper etiquette when sending emails.

Etiquette, defined as the “customary code of polite behavior”, allows for an elevated level of communication making it clearer, more concise, and has shown to increase effectiveness and productivity. With these goals in mind, Innovuze Solutions Inc. conducted an Email Etiquette seminar last March 21, 2022. The seminar hopes to improve written communication, and positively impact the productivity of everyone. Conducted by Engr. Franklin Rey A. Pacquiao, our very own AVP-OM, the seminar was attended by employees both in person at the office and virtually by those who are working at home.

Engr. Pacquiao pointed out that written communication is a crucial part of the work being done by everyone. In the workplace written communication could be either Memos, Reports, Bulletins, Job Descriptions, Employee Manuals, Emails, and Instant Messages. However, for this seminar we are going to focus on the email, and the ways that we can improve our “email skills”.

According to Engr. Pacquiao, a business email has six components:

  • Subject line - which highlights the importance and urgency of the email along with key topics.

  • Greeting - the proper and cordial address of the email setting the tone

  • Intro/Purpose - a short and concise introduction of why the email has been sent.

  • Detail - the body of the email. Consider that if the body is too long, another form of communication might be necessary such as a meeting.

  • Ask/Action - is where you state what response you expect, from whom, when, and other pertinent information. As important as it is, sometimes people often forget to state a clear action!

  • Closing/Sign-off - a proper and courteous thank you given in return for the assistance and your important contact information.

Just by following these points, you can drastically improve the quality of your communications. But, is making sure to tick off all these boxes enough? According to Engr. Pacquiao, the written word has features that separate what’s good from what’s bad.

  • Consideration - the careful thought and consideration given to the audience

  • Clarity - being straightforward and using plain and direct language to avoid confusion.

  • Conciseness - getting to the point directly and avoiding unnecessary details.

  • Coherence - grouping and organizing the information logically and intuitively and using strong headers and transitions.

  • Correctness - striving for accuracy with the information given, ensuring you maintain credibility and trust.

  • Confidence - demonstrate professionalism, competence, and clear thinking.

Now that we’ve established the importance of written communication, the components of an email, and what defines good communication, what then is email etiquette? As with other social settings, email etiquette has a few do’s and don'ts.

Do’s

  • Do have a clear subject line - as mentioned above, the subject line sets the tone of the email and it is essential that you should be able to glean the purpose of the email through the subject line alone.

  • Do use a professional salutation - stick to the standard salutations, ‘Hello’, ‘Dear’, and avoid any sort of informality such as ‘Yo’, or ‘Hiya’, it is also important to always use the full name of your addressee.

  • Do proofread your message - always double-check your emails, cross your t’s and dot your i’s. Make sure that your email does not contain any mistakes or typos.

  • Do reply to all emails - always give time to respond to emails in a timely manner, politely and with purpose. Whether it be answering the request, acknowledging receipt, or even informing them that you might not be the right person to send the email to!

  • Do keep private material confidential - keep sensitive information private. When an email is sent to you, you are the only one allowed to view the message and its contents unless otherwise stated.

Don’ts

  • Don’t forget your signature - set it to automatically attach at the end of every email, which should contain who you are and your contact information.

  • Don’t use humor (as much as possible) - humor doesn’t always translate well and has a chance of being misinterpreted. If unsure, just leave it out.

  • Don’t assume the recipient knows what you are talking about - avoid one-liner responses, or assumptions that your recipient is able to follow your thoughts, try to include the context of the conversation. Also, avoid using shortcuts or acronyms

  • Don’t shoot from the lip - always think and rethink your emails and never send an email at the height of your emotions.

  • Don’t! Overuse exclamation points - as with any punctuation mark, is it wisely and correctly. In a business setting, these might not translate well.

Email Signature Example

During the discussion, Engr. Pacquiao had everyone check their own email settings and check if they had already set their email signature. Those who had none were asked to create their own through features available on the google mail platform, adding a level of professionalism to every letter to be sent in the future. This also provides the recipient with alternative avenues for communication as well as the information of the company that you represent. You never know what they might find useful!

After the discussion on Email Etiquette do’s and don’ts, Enger. Pacquiao also added some tips on sending emails such as the difference between To vs. Bcc vs. Cc. Knowing the difference ensures you know who the direct and indirect recipients are, who sees other recipients, whether they receive future email responses or not, and other limitations. This can be very helpful when you are sending emails to a lot of people for circulation or information purposes, but don’t necessarily want each and every one to add to the overall thread as it can get messy and difficult to navigate.

Almost at the end of the seminar, Engr. Pacquiao opened the floor to anyone who would like to share their own tips and tricks to sending emails that others might not know about. Some very useful tips were increasing the grace period for undoing a sent email in case of a missend, turning on autocorrect features and grammar suggestions, creating templates for repeatedly sent emails in google docs, the use of autoresponders for when you are on vacation, adding multiple signatures for people who have multiple roles, and the use of mail merge. A lot of people really have their own techniques that they picked up along the way to make their emails a lot more efficient and foolproof!

Finally, at the end of the seminar Engr. Pacquiao conducted an activity where the participants had to choose from a few scenarios and had to create the perfect email to address an issue. All activity emails were sent to Engr. Pacquiao for evaluation. Participants were expected to apply the lessons they learned throughout the seminar and craft the best email they could.

After a set time, Engr. Pacquiao chose in random some emails that were sent by the participants. This became a workshop on what the sample email did right, and what possible improvements could be made. Everyone had the chance to share their thoughts and inputs, ask questions, make clarifications and offer suggestions.

Sample Email from Activity - defective equipment scenario

Overall the Seminar was a huge success, the participants learned a lot and were able to apply their learning to the activity and hopefully to future communications they will send with their colleagues. Enger. Pacquiao thanked everyone for their participation and reminded everyone that the words we write are a very real representation of our companies and ourselves, and that the goal is always to make the people we talk to happy that they reached out.

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