Tag Archives: email etiquette

Choosing Your Most Effective Email Closing

Posted on by

You’ve worked hard crafting your email so that your message is clear, your tone is correct, your format is inviting, and you have eliminated all errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar. Now it’s time to decide on an email closing, and you’re stuck. All else being perfect, the way you sign off requires more than a little thought and finesse. It may only be a word or a phrase, but it needs to be well-chosen.

If you are struggling to find the most effective email closing, you are far from alone. Extensive research on this topic—and yes, I did the research—revealed that opinions on this topic are all over the map. In one article three email etiquette experts were asked their stance on a long list of email closings. The end result turned up little agreement among the three. No wonder you find this subject challenging.

Before you decide how to sign-off, you should consider your relationship to the recipient and the context of the email. What works for a good friend or close colleague most likely will not work for a business contact. What is appropriate for an initial email may come across as too formal as your connection develops.

Here are my suggestions on choosing your most effective email closing.

    1. Always use one. Not signing off is like walking out the door without saying good-bye. Too abrupt.
    2. Match your email closing to your salutation. This column devoted time some months ago to using effective and appropriate email salutations. A formal salutation requires a formal closing. An informal salutation should be followed by an informal closing.
    3. Consider using a closing statement in lieu of a closing word or two. Email tends to be more relaxed so once you have established a relationship with the recipient, you might end your email with something like, “Have a nice day”, “See you on Friday” or “Enjoy your vacation”.
    4. Be respectful but avoid “Respectfully/Respectfully yours”. According to Business Insider those closings are too formal and are to be reserved for government officials and clergy.
    5. Proceed gingerly when expressing thanks. Both “Thanks” and “Thank you” get high marks when used in the right circumstances. The Boomerang study found emails that convey appreciation receive the highest response rate. However, there are some people who think that writing “Thank you in advance” comes across as demanding and should be used with caution.
    6. Keep anything with religious overtones out of your professional correspondence. Avoid wishing someone a blessed day.
    7. Following your closing, let people know how you want to be addressed. If you want to be addressed by your first name, use only that in closing. If you prefer to keep things formal, sign off with your first and last name. If you are “Bill” and not “William”, now’s your chance to let that be known.

As always the goal is to be courteous, kind and respectful. Let your good sense and good judgment be your guide.

Lydia Ramsey is a Savannah-based business etiquette expert, keynote speaker, trainer and author. Contact her at 912-604-0080 or visit her website: LydiaRamsey.com. Find out how her presentations and workshops can help you and your employees add the polish that builds profits.

The State of the Email Salutation

Posted on by

It’s possible that you are not aware of a raging debate online and in print regarding the proper email salutation. The controversy is not quite on the same level as the political debates, thank goodness;  but like those hurricanes some of us dread all summer long, it is growing in intensity and covering an ever-widening area.

A while ago I was contacted by the Wall Street Journal for an article titled “Hey, Folks: Here’s a Digital Requiem for a Dearly Departed Salutation”. That was followed by a call from a reporter at Forbes.com seeking my opinion on the use of “hi” vs. “dear” as an email salutation or greeting.  From the comments and responses in those articles, this topic stirred up quite a controversy. And it continues.

Opinions on the proper email salutation:

Those who were either interviewed or quoted in were adamant about their stance.  Some felt the word “dear” was old-fashioned and out-of-date.  One person said it was too “girlie” while another stated that it was extremely intimate. Yet another replied that using any salutation at all takes too much time to type. I’m no speed typist, but really? How long does it take to type two letters?

Opinions were all over the map. Many people who preferred “hello” over “hi.”  “Hey” did not seem to get any votes.  Maybe all those interviewed had a mother like mine who drilled into me that “hey” was not an appropriate greeting in any situation. “Hay is for horses” was her response to anyone saying “hey”.  As a Southerner, I have to admit that I use the word frequently as a verbal greeting with friends.  It’s as common as grits here in the Georgia.

My stance on the email salutation:

  1. One size does not fit all. Use the email salutation appropriate to the situation and the person to whom you are addressing your email. Context and familiarity dictate the salutation.
  2. Use “dear” in your initial correspondence with someone whom you have never met and with whom you are trying to establish a professional relationship. When in doubt, “dear” is always safe and should be the default greeting for any first communication
  3. Use “hi” or “hello” once you have established a comfortable relationship. “Hi” is viewed as relaxing and welcoming.
  4. Follow the lead of your client or customer. If the other person always uses “dear”, then so do you. If they begin their correspondence with you by saying “hi,” follow suit. As in all business situations, mimic your client.
  5. Use a salutation of some form. There is always enough time to be courteous. Launching your conversation without a greeting is the same online as it is in person. It’s abrupt.
  6. Along with your chose email salutation include the person’s name. However, never use anyone’s first name in business until and unless they give you permission. When people sign their email reply to you using their first name, that is a signal that you no longer need to use “Mr.” or Ms.”
  7. With friends you may be as informal as you like. If you frequently exchange email with certain friends and colleagues, there is no need to be formal. Nevertheless, I am a fan of a greeting of some sort even if it is simply starting off with your friend’s or co-worker’s first name.

Still confused? Let me summarize:

  • Although “Dear” is viewed as outmoded by some, it is a failsafe fall-back.
  • “Hello” followed by the person’s name, is also acceptable.
  • “Hi”, plus the name, has been on the rise for some time, and is considered standard in many situations.

At this point, I leave the email salutation to your good judgment. I feel confident that “dear” is not dead.  But I believe that we are going to see a lot more “hi” in our in-boxes.

Lydia Ramsey is a Savannah-based business etiquette expert, keynote speaker and trainer. She is the author of Manners That Sell – Adding the Polish That Builds Profits and Lydia Ramsey’s Little Book of Table Manners. Contact her at 912-604-0080 or visit her website: LydiaRamsey.com to find out how her presentations and workshops can help you and your employees add the polish that builds profits.

Are You Among Email Users or Email Abusers?

Posted on by

Did you know that 205 billion email messages are sent every day? That’s 2.4 million every second and some 74 trillion per year. I am sure that there are days when you feel that they all landed in your inbox. Studies show that  the average office worker receives 121 emails every day and sends 40.

When you consider that in a recent poll, white-collar adult workers confessed that 6.3 hours of their day is spent on email, the numbers are even more shocking. And don’t even think of a world without email. It is and will remain the cornerstone of our workplace.

While it is time-consuming and frequently annoying, there are steps that can be taken to cut down on the time spent on email, but what about the annoying part? Much of what causes email grief is the fault of the sender. The explosion of electronic messaging has created as many problems among co-workers as it has solved. Email abusers are ruffling feathers. You may recognize some of them and their irritating habits.

The most egregious email abusers are those who wait until the last minute. An hour before the meeting or  teleconference, they send a list of ten issues you need to be prepared to discuss. They would have you believe that they are so busy and important that they couldn’t get word to you sooner. Truth is that they procrastinated. Now their problem becomes your problem.

These same people also wait until the eleventh hour to let you know that they won’t be at the meeting. They wouldn’t dare pick up the phone and tell you personally so they hide behind e-mail. When you don’t get the message because you were on your way to the meeting, they act surprised and totally innocent, saying, “But I sent an e-mail.”

Another group of email abusers tends to send out emergency notices. Mid-morning you get the message that your proposal needs to be ready for presentation to the client at 2 PM. Not only that, the boss needs to approve it first. They don’t have the courage to call you or come to your office and risk experiencing your reaction to their lack of consideration in person. Worst of all, when the deadline is missed, they are quick to tell everyone, “I don’t understand. I sent that information to her earlier.”

Then there are the email abusers who never respond to email. You know who they are. You can e-mail them till the cows come home, and they won’t answer. When you confront them, they swear they didn’t get your message. They blame it on their server or the latest virus.

E-mail is only as good as the people who use it.

Be considerate of recipients. Chances are they are not sitting at their desk with nothing else to do but check email. Furthermore, they may not even be at their desk. If you have waited until the last minute, don’t put your message in an email. Pick up the phone or walk to your co-worker’s office to break the news.

When it comes to email, remember these five points:

    1. It is not the instantaneous communication it was once considered.
    2. In fact, email is the new snail mail.
    3. It is slow. People read it infrequently.
    4. If you want something done quickly, don’t send an email.

Use the Internet to build relationships, not destroy them. Email is a valuable tool only when it is used correctly.

Lydia Ramsey is a Savannah-based business etiquette expert, keynote speaker, trainer and author. Her quick wit, southern charm and extensive knowledge of business etiquette make her a sought-after speaker. Contact her at 912-604-0080 or visit her website: LydiaRamsey.com to find out how her presentations and workshops can help you or your employees add the polish that builds profits.

 

 

Email Etiquette – When Will We Ever Learn?

Posted on by

lip piercingOne of my favorite TV show is NCIS. My attraction is more to the characters than the plot. I am particularly fascinated with Leroy Jethro Gibbs and his 50 or so “rules.” In case you do not know, Rule #1 is “Never let suspects stay together.” That has nothing to do with email etiquette, but everything to do with Ramsey’s Rules, particularly Ramsey’s Rules of Etiquette.

Ramsey’s Rule #1 of Email Etiquette: “Never put in an email anything that you could not bear to hear or see on the national news the next day.”

It seems that this error is not one that is limited to the rank and file office worker. It is an issue for people in high places. If you’ve been paying attention to the national news lately, you know what I am talking about.

No matter your position or your pay grade, your email is not exempt from worldwide exposure.

So let me remind you once again to never put anything in an email that you are not willing to have viewed across the globe. You never know when your email might be hacked or when some co-worker might be looking for a bit of revenge.  Whatever the case, you will ultimately pay the price.

What is the solution? If you have something private, controversial or confidential to share, stay away from the Internet. Pick up the phone or arrange a private meeting.

Bonus rule: Never send an email when you are angry, upset or inebriated. Once it leaves your inbox, it will live until eternity.

More information on email etiquette is available in my best-selling book, Manners That Sell. For a quick read, I have published an article on “The Top Twelve Email Mistakes That Can Sabotage Your Career.”

Photo from Savannah magazine

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com

Email Management – Reduce What You Receive

Posted on by

 I am thrilled to welcome as my guest blogger this week, Melissa Gratias, productivity expert. It is no mystery why I was drawn to her. Who among us could not benefit from her skills, especially when it comes to managing our email? I am confident you will find her blog immensely helpful as you try to climb out from under all that email that is heaped upon you daily. Every day, I want to shout at my inbox, “Hey, I’m in charge here.” But I’m not really.

inboxA few years ago, the average corporate email user received between 60 – 70 messages per day.  This year, most of my clients are reporting receiving between 100 – 150 emails each day.  It is reasonable to expect that this trend will continue to grow.

However…

You are not a victim of your inbox – you can exercise control over what you receive.  Below are some suggestions on how to reduce your volume of incoming email messages.  Try some of the tips and let me know how they work.

Clarify to Co-workers When to Email You (and when NOT to)

Human nature is to take the safest route.  It is easier to copy your boss than risk not keeping him/her informed.  Talk to your boss and your direct reports.  Clarify when a cc: is the best action versus when to save information for a future one-on-one meeting.  Most of the time, a daily or weekly status report that summarizes recent decisions and actions can replace tens or sometimes hundreds of email messages sent and received.

Create a “Disposable” Email Account

There are many providers, such as Google, that allow you to create a free email account.  Use this account for web transactions and purchases.  If the address starts to receive too much spam, you can disable it and create a new one.

Turn Off Incoming Email Alerts

By default, most email programs will alert you whenever you receive a new message.  Like Pavlov’s dog, these visual and auditory notifications can prompt us to immediately respond.  You need to be appropriately responsive to incoming mail, not necessarily instantly responsive.  Being instantly responsive discourages people from contacting you through any other mechanism, and encourages more and more email.

Disable Social Media Notifications

By default, social media applications email you almost constantly.  It’s as if you must instantly know when you have a new friend or someone has posted something amazing.  Take ten minutes and navigate through the settings of every social media tool you use.  Be intentional about your email notifications.  If you worry that you will forget to go into LinkedIn and accept invitations to connect, add a task to your to-do list to visit the site once a week to do so.  Don’t let FOMO (fear of missing out) distract you.  While you are at it, disable the notifications on your mobile devices, too.

Avoid “Read Receipts”

Thankfully, attaching a read receipt to an email is not as popular as it once was.  That’s probably because each time you attach a read or delivery receipt to an email, you do two things:  annoy the recipient, and generate more email for yourself.

Limit Unsolicited Email

Okay, folks.  I am well aware that spam is a continuing problem in email management today.  Dealing with this issue is complex.  I received a phone call last week from a salesperson who had collected my personal information simply because I had read an article on his company’s website.  I had not logged in or signed up for their newsletter – just browsed the site.  I felt like a guest star on Person of Interest.

In an era of uncontrolled access to personal information, here are some steps you can take:

  • Do not provide your contact information in stores when making a purchase. They don’t need your email address to sell you a shirt.
  • If you put your business card in the fishbowl drawing for a free lunch, you are likely getting a lifetime membership on an email distribution list.
  • Always uncheck the box “Sign me up for your amazing coupons and specials!”
  • If there is an unsubscribe link, use it. If the vendor does not honor your unsubscribe, block them or set up an Outlook Rule to automatically send their emails to the Deleted Items folder.

Take Extreme Measures

There are companies who tout that they have solved their email problems with web collaboration tools and/or new policies (Email-Free Friday!).  Although I do fall into the “email is a dying medium” camp, I encourage caution.  If we add more options instead of replacing email with something else, I believe that we muddy the waters of communication further.  If you or your company decides to take a more extreme stance against email, make sure you simultaneously plan its death date.

Conclusion:  Change Begins at Home

You have the power to reduce the growth of your inbox.  Be discerning when sending email.  Every email you send not only transmits a message, but also tells the receiver how you want them to communicate with you.  Choose the communication tool that best fits your message, not the most convenient one.  You’ll save time in the long run through better end results and fewer misunderstandings along the way.

Gratias_cutoutDr. Melissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) is a work psychologist who helps overwhelmed and underappreciated business people be more focused and effective. Since 2007, thousands of people have graduated with honors from her onsite sessions, distance coaching, productivity seminars, and corporate consulting projects. Based in Savannah, Georgia, Melissa is available for nationwide consulting and speaking engagements. Contact her via email at getproductive@melissagratias.com or call 912-417-2505. Sign up for her free monthly e-newsletter or visit her website, melissagratias.com.  Dr. Melissa promises that visiting her website will not result in CIA-like tracking of your personal information.

Thank you, Melissa, for a fun and informative blog. My readers will be grateful.

Lydia

Email Etiquette – The Sunday Night Warriors

Posted on by

e-mail etiquetteJust when you thought that there was nothing left to say about email etiquette, one more issue pops up. As the use of email continues to increase, so do the rules for using it courteously and professionally and for practicing good email etiquette.  The first article that I ever wrote on this subject for the business world was “The Top Twelve E-mail Mistakes That Can Sabotage Your Career.” Today I could write about fifty or more email mistakes that can sabotage your career or ruin your business relationships.

According to an article by Mashable.com, 144.8 billion emails are sent every day. Mashable  reported that 28% of workers’ time is spent on email. Frighteningly only about 14% of those emails are deemed important. Now I must confess that article was written four years ago. Imagine what the numbers would be if the study were done today.

I am sure there are days when you feel that all 144.8 billion email messages have landed in your inbox. Everyone struggles with ways to control the tsunami of email. We all have our systems for managing our inbox. In the midst of this battle to survive there have emerged those people whom I call the  “Sunday night email warriors.” You know them, and may even be one yourself. The Sunday night email warriors are  those people who use the last few hours of their weekend to handle mail that they didn’t have time for Friday afternoon or mail that has come in since they left the office.

For the Sunday night email warriors, the result of their efforts is that they can go to sleep with a sense of relief, slightly confident that they won’t have to spend hours on Monday morning pouring over their inbox. But what about those who are on the receiving end of the mail that traversed cyberspace during the night? It’s another email tsunami.

If you feel the need to write replies to your messages over the weekend, that’s fine but consider scheduling them to be sent out mid-morning on Monday. Most email programs will allow you to do this. Unless the reply needs to reach the recipient first thing Monday morning, you will show courtesy and respect to your co-workers, colleagues and clients when you give them some breathing space as they start the workweek.

If you need to get an answer to someone right away, remember Alexander Graham Bell and pick up the phone. But wait until Monday!!!

This will not be the last word that I’ll write about email mistakes. Tomorrow another bad habit will emerge. If you have one that you want me to include in a future blog or in my newsletter, contact me via my website or call me at 912-604-0080.

More information on email etiquette can be found in my best-selling book Manners That Sell-Adding the Polish That Builds Profits.

Photo from Savannah magazine

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com

The Google Unsend Button – What If You Don’t Have Gmail?

Posted on by

send email Google has announced a new feature for Gmail—the unsend button. How many times have you sent an email message to the wrong person at the wrong time in the wrong format? Maybe you didn’t commit all those email sins at once, but you have probably done one or more of the above and some as yet unmentioned.

The new unsend button basically prevents g-mailers from sending mail prematurely—like the time my cat hit “send” when I was only halfway through my message. I was lucky because the email was being written to a personal friend and not a business client. Whew!

Let’s face it. Almost all of us have sent email before we remembered to use  spell check, before we had finished the message, before we had completed the subject line and, worst of all, before we looked to see if we were sending it to the right person. Some of us who are brave enough to admit it have managed to send a blank email.

The unsend button is a help, but it does have its limitations. It only applies to those who use Gmail, and they have a mere 30-seconds max to recognize and correct their mistake.

If you don’t use g-mail (forgive me Google) or if 30 seconds is not enough time to realize your error, let me share my fool-proof solution for sending email before its time. Are you ready? It’s simple: complete the “To” line last. Do not put in an address until you have finalized your message and done all the appropriate checks.

Why not fill in the recipient’s address first? That would be your natural inclination. Here are a few good reasons to make that your final step:

Your email program does not care if you have not…

  • Checked spelling and grammar
  • Done a second proofing of your content
  • Attached the document you promised
  • Provided a subject line
  • Included any content
  • Written an appropriate greeting or closing
  • Offered all necessary contact information in your signature line

The only thing your email program will hold you accountable for is having at least one name or distribution list in the To, Cc or Bcc line.

To borrow from the legendary tagline of the movie “Love Story”, waiting to complete the address line last means “never having to say you’re sorry.”

Photo from Savannah magazine

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.

 

Email Etiquette Plain and Simple

Posted on by

Yesterday I read my friend and public relations guru Dan Janal’s weekly blog, which he titled “Email Productivity: Tips to Improve Media Relations and Customer Service.” Needless to say, it struck a chord with me as I read on. I must confess that Dan generally hits the nail right on the head and has a strong message for his readers and followers.

This week he debunks the myth that in order to be productive, you should never check your email in the morning. Those who say that insist that such a practice is “useless, time consuming, distracting, low priority and takes away valuable time from your ‘big ideas.'” I confess that email is the first thing I check in the morning–after I feed the cats. In their opinion, food trumps email.

In addition to those who warn you not to open your email in the morning, there are others who caution you to check your messages only at set times during the day. In one sense this might make you more productive. After all if you are writing a proposal, working on a project or engaged in another important activity, email can be an interruption.

However, if you depend on other people such as clients, customers and even vendors to help you grow your business; you could potentially miss out on valuable opportunities by limiting the times during the day that you open your email.

In my case, as a speaker and trainer, I might miss a message from someone who is looking for a presenter for their next meeting. Perhaps the person they had scheduled had to cancel at the last minute. This person doesn’t have all day to get a response. It may be that a reporter is looking for a quote for an article and has an imminent deadline. In both cases these people will move on and find someone else who can help them.

In my opinion, it is not only bad business to be so arrogant as to put yourself above others, it is discourteous and disrespectful. When the people who support your business need you, be there for them and be responsive, no matter the time of day. Plain and simple, it’s just good email etiquette.

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.

Business Etiquette – The Key to Success

Posted on by

Business etiquette may seem out-dated to the new generation of small business owners and their employees as well as large corporations who don’t see a need for it in this digital age. Those who overlook  the value of business etiquette are losing business everyday.

Perhaps it occurs when the customer walks in and no one bothers to offer a greeting.or an acknowledgement of any sort. It may be that the customer’s name is never used. Perhaps the employees look as if they are dressed for a day at the beach rather than at the office.  Any number of details can either cost you business or win customers over.  In any case there is a direct connection between business etiquette and the bottom line.

Business Etiquette – The Key to Success

We all know that people do business with people they like.Here are some aspects of business etiquette that can improve your credibility and like-ability.

Make a good first impression.  You only get one chance. Smile, make eye contact and ask how you can help. Every customer has the right to expect recognition and courtesy within the first few seconds.

Professional appearance counts.  Clients and colleagues will judge your level of professionalism before you even open your mouth so dress appropriately at all times.  In the business world it is always better to be dressed more conservatively than not. If your organization does not have a dress code, create one. Don’t leave how your people should dress to their imagination.

Work at remembering names. When you are introduced to people, focus on their name, not on what you are going to say next.  If you repeat the name in the form of a question as soon as you meet the person, you will stand a better chance of remembering it the next time. For example when you are introduced to John Doe, reply by asking. “John Doe?” That way you can clarify that you heard the name correctly as well as reinforce it in your memory bank of names.

Be on time. Even being a few minutes late for a meeting is not acceptable. It indicates a lack of respect or importance of the people with whom you are meeting. If you cannot avoid being late, call to let someone know. Don’t send an email message since you can’t  be sure the person you are trying to reach checks email every two minutes.

Pay attention to your social media manners. Don’t mix your personal and professional accounts. Use your own photo  and professional name. By now most people should realize that someone who is considering hiring you or doing business with you will look you up on line. They won’t be impressed with you if you use a cute or racy name and if you post photos of yourself dancing on the table at the New Year’s Eve party.

Anything on the Internet is in the public domain so tread carefully online and in email.  Never say anything that you don’t want the whole world to see. Never write when you are tired, emotional or angry. Consider that email has no tone of voice so for sensitive or complicated matters pick up the phone or walk down the hall. Personal interaction is much more effective in building and maintaining business relationships.

Do not pull out your smart phone or other communication device during a meeting. Keep it off and out of sight. The message you are sending to others in the meeting or presentation is one of disrespect and lack of interest. “Reading under the table,” is more obvious than you think.

There are certain words or topics to avoid in your business communications. Cursing has become almost common place, but it is a sure way to lose business and possibly your job. If you curse, you dilute your message by showing a lack of courtesy and professionalism as well as a limited vocabulary.

Publicizing your political beliefs has no place in business unless you are trying to lose customers. If you have any doubt about that, think of the recent episode with Chick-fil-A.  Ultimately taking a public stance on an issue back-fired.

No matter what business you are in, business etiquette is vital to your success. It starts from the top down so the owner or CEO needs to demonstrate courtesy and respect. There is a definite trickle down effect.  Given a choice, customers and employees will go where they are treated well. Ultimately business etiquette will show up in the bottom line.  Polish builds profits.

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.

Mobile Devices vs. Email Business Etiquette

Posted on by

Have mobile devices struck one more blow to email business etiquette? Do you know that smart phones and tablets make up more than half of all mobile devices and that 90 percent of those with these latest devices use them to check their email before checking their computers? At least that is what Dave Tedlock of NetOutcomes reports. Based on personal experience, I don’t doubt him for a second.

Everywhere you go, you see people on their mobile device, whatever type it is, but something has changed. They are no longer using them for live conversation. This is obvious because their lips aren’t moving and they are operating the device with their thumbs.  What effect has this had on email etiquette? For one thing it has caused a rise of ATS or “Alone Together Syndrome.” ( Look for more about ATS in a future article.)

You know what I mean. You go out to eat as I did yesterday and observe two or more people seated at the same table, totally unaware of each other while they run their thumbs over the minuscule keyboards on their mobile device. You have to wonder why they decided to go out together when they show no interest in each other.

It happens everywhere, not just restaurants. You see this behavior at meetings, conferences, concerts, weddings and even funerals. There is currently a TV ad featuring a man checking his email during a wedding and  getting so excited at the message he just received  that he blurts out, “I do” while the couple is making their vows. It is definitely a sign of the times.

If you are going to check and respond to email whenever and wherever you are, be sure that your email is as professional as if you were sitting in front of your desktop or laptop writing it.. Too many business people send email from their mobile device the same way that they would text.

In creating tips that will help you come across as a polished professional, whether you are sitting at your desk sending email or waiting in your doctor’s office, I realized that one of the most important considerations is having a complete and consistent email signature.

For more on this topic, I interviewed technology expert, Jerry Gitchel to get his advice about what to consider when setting up a Mobile Device Email Signature. Here is what Jerry had to say to the many business pros who are migrating their primary email tasks from desktop or notebook computers to mobile devices. “Since the startup configuration is often handled by telecom techs or IT staff, an important email account configuration step is missing. The missing step is the setup of a personalized email signature. It contains the important contact information recipients use to connect by phone.”

He went on to say that “the result is individual clients receiving multiple branding and contact info from each mobile device. It’s not the device that matters, it’s the sender. The elements of contact info, logos and links should match across all phones, tablets and computers. The only difference to be considered is layout. Using a larger font size to create a smartphone sig is just good sense.”

Jerry’s Tips

– Develop a single sig that includes everything you want to see across all platforms. Use this master template to setup an email sig for each device.

– Keep a list handy of all the devices and platforms (web-based email) to make sure updated information is fully distributed.

– Put your customer hat on and experience your email sig on different devices and displays.”

I added these tips for consideration when sending email in this multiple device world:

The rules of  business etiquette apply to any and all devices that send and receive email. As usual we get the technology before we get the rules for how to use it professionally and before we consider how to follow proper business etiquette.

Typos are not acceptable even if you are using an iPhone or an iPad. Proof your message and be sure every word is spelled correctly.

Abbreviations and acronyms should not be used when you are responding to business email.  It feels like texting, but it is not.Use acronyms only if you are certain that the recipient is familiar with them as well.

Keep your subject line short and to the point. The person to whom you are writing may be reading it on one of the latest mobile devices.

Keep your message brief.  If others are receiving your email on a smart phone or other device, they won’t be happy about a lengthy message.

Most importantly, consider where you are and with whom before checking your email. Few messages are so important that they can’t wait while you engage with your lunch partner or with your client and colleague during a meeting. It is an insult when you place more value on your email than the people around you and the business at hand.

Just because the majority of people are now using mobile devices for their business communication does not mean that they can ignore the rules of email business etiquette.

What is your thoughts about sending email from mobile devices? What other rules woud you add?

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.