From the way we start an email to how personal we make it, there is an appropriate way to write a business email that gets your message across while not offending your recipient. Especially during Covid-19, it’s hard to understand what struggles your team members are going through on their side.
Proper email etiquette is more important today than ever before. The volume of emails we send to our coworkers continues to increase. This makes the way we write each email all the more important because we need to ensure our messages get communicated properly.
Let’s explore the components of appropriate email etiquette when it comes to internal business email.
When crafting a business email, starting with a simple “Hi” is a good approach.
As with many things in life, the simplest solution is often the best solution. Business email etiquette is no different. A simple “Hi Person’s Name” is the most appropriate greeting for any internal email you’re writing.
Upon first glance, this simple greeting might feel impersonal. But that’s ok. Attempts to get too personal in an internal business email often destroy the message of the email altogether.
Generic greetings such as “How are you?” and “I hope this finds you well” often fall flat. These increase the length of the email, which in turn buries the main message you’re trying to communicate in the email.
Be careful when asking about someone’s health. This is appropriate when you sincerely care, but disingenuous in any other scenario.
Broadcast emails should be formal and specific to the audience.
“How is life going today” is not a good way to start off an email when sending to a large group of people. When writing this type of email, it’s best to skip any inquiries into a person’s well being. Instead, stick to the business at hand and keep your email succinct.
Also, business broadcasts are known to be an impersonal type of email, even when they’re well-segmented and targeted. However, the purpose of this email is to get your audience the information they need. If you find yourself sending emails to a large group and the emails aren’t applicable to a large percentage of team members, you might consider re-segmenting the distribution list.
When sending emails to a direct report, informal and empathetic is the way to go.
Direct manager to employee emails is more personal than business broadcasts. For these types of emails, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask about someone’s well-being, as long as that’s the objective of the email.
If there is a different reason you’re sending the email, asking about well-being in the greeting or closure runs the risk of being perceived as non-caring and inauthentic. It can be a simple email with this message: “How is everything going? I know you’ve been working hard on the X project, so just reaching out to thank you for your hard work and making sure you have everything you need to succeed.”
When starting an email, get to the point quickly and use bullet points when possible.
The best way to start an email is by getting straight to the point. An email is a powerful tool for quickly communicating important information. Burying the point of the email under unnecessary fluff slows down this process.
Get right to the point and present the necessary information in the first sentence. If there’s a specific question you want answered, ask that question in the first sentence. In the following sentences, let the recipient know what to expect for any next steps. This is where you set their expectations as to what will happen going forward.
Know your audience and get to the point.
Internal business emails should be succinct and to the point. How personal this type of email gets depends on the intent of the email. When in doubt, err on the side of less personal and more concise.