Mastering Business Etiquette

Professional PresenceWhat did Judy do wrong?

As a result of Judy’s e-mail, the fifth member of her team, Ellen, is horrified. Not only did Judy embarrass her once, but leaving her off of a list, she drew even more attention to Ellen when she thought she was offering her help. Also, the inclusion of emoticons does not replace real-life emotions or gestures. In addition to coming off as just plan rude, Judy’s use of emoticons and abbreviations makes her seem immature or careless.

Professional PresenceWhat should Judy have done?

Judy should’ve followed the golden rule of e-mailing which is to review before you hit “Send”. Then perhaps she would’ve have modified it or even decided against sending it at all. An extremely positive accomplishment, especially one that directly affects the company for which you work, should be celebrated! An achievement of this magnitude should not be recognized in the form of an e-mail. If not at all impossible, Judy should have gathered her team together or mentioned Rob’s feat when they were all together in a meeting. Also, in sending an e-mail, people are probably processing only the negative aspect of the message, which nearly defeats the original intent. This could have been altogether avoided by keeping it brief. The portion of the message meant for others not receiving praise should have been addressed separately and only with the person.

In short, all business e-mails should be treated like business letters. No unnecessary banter, no slang or abbreviations and if you are able to get your point across better by saying it in person, than do!

Professional PresenceWhat lessons can you apply?

Always think twice before sending an e-mail. Ask yourself whether it’s something that may warrant a phone call or even a face-to-face meeting. Once you’ve decided that an e-mail is acceptable, read it before you hit the “send” button to ensure you’ve said what you intended to say. Also, make sure that you keep all business e-mails professional, that way all recipients will perceive you that way and you’ll avoid sending a message that may be misunderstood.


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