Do Emails Require Formal Business Communication Practices?

Over the last decade or so, the bestbusinesscommunity of mobile technology to assist an ever-increasing busy life has also led to hasty emails and messages being sent on the go. There used to be a time when corporate communication meant dotting all your I’s and crossing all your t’s before you sent a letter out. Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case.

SMS-speak isn’t just visible; it’s downright rampant. And it’s increasingly more noticeable in business e-mail writing. Really, who’s got the time to sit down and recheck the placement of grammar and punctuation anymore? Busy work schedules are a convenient scapegoat, but for people looking to gain a competitive edge, a well-drafted email could mean the difference between being taken seriously and being dismissed without a second glance.

Making it Happen

How do you go about it? It’s not as complicated, or as daunting, as it might seem. To begin with, management must understand that there’s a vast difference between the lack of ability and a pattern developed over time and constant use. While your employees might have studied formal writing techniques during their education, they’ve used mobile-friendly language a lot more often than business communication.

With that in mind, in business email etiquette we recommend the following strategies to begin streamlining business communication in your organization:

  1. Understand Your Audience: The hallmark of any effective communication or piece of writing is one that is catered to address the specific needs of its audience, which help one’s client interfacing skills. Even though you might communicate with your clients on amiable terms, all said and done, they are still your clients; not your friends. Business writing, like any other written communication, must be audience appropriate.
  2. Send Clear and Succinct Message: Did you know that billions of dollars of time management are spent writing confusing and unclear messages, memos, letters and reports every year? And it’s equally burdensome if you are at the receiving end of a cryptic message. Business writing is not the arena for playing games with corporate communication. To communicate well, you must keep your messages short and to the point.
  3. Structure Your Emails: The last thing you want is for your most important point to be read at the end. Again, it’s not an arena where you save the best for last. Instead, learn how to present the most important ideas in the beginning. Use boldface to highlight the important ideas and use lists to structure them in a way that makes your writing readable. Always remember that no one wants to read a wall of text.
  4. Standardize Your Communication: Establish the protocol for business communication at your organization. You must include details like salutations, avoiding messages written in all-caps, and ensuring a timely response for all messages received. As a precautionary measure, go ahead and define the specific limit for “timely”. Ideally, emails should not be left unanswered for over 24 hours, unless you are on vacation with your vacation-responder activated.

And last, but not the least, proofread your emails to fix grammar and punctuation errors before you send them out. It’s the least you can do to ensure a positive impression in the minds of the people you interact with.

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