Business Etiquette NewsletterEmail Etiquette

E-mail – Be Brief, But Not Abrupt

How many e-mail messages do you receive that are not personalized in any way? The sender goes straight to the message without ever acknowledging you by name? The communication ends just as abruptly without a signature. The assumption, of course, is that your inbox will reveal the sender’s name

While e-mail is meant to brief and to the point, it is not intended to be impersonal. E-mail has become the cold call of today’s business world. Would you make a cold call without a greeting or an introduction? Would you make a cold call without attempting to establish a relationship? The answer of
course is “no.” So why would anyone send e-mail without a personal touch?

I often receive messages through my website. I never cease to be amazed at how many people fail to address me by name. They ask a question or request information and proceed to close without leaving their name, contact information or a kind word.

Business is built on relationships and first impressions. If you want to grow your business using the Internet, keep in mind that your e-mail messages still require courtesy and cordiality.

Begin by using the person’s name, add warmth to your message and close with your name and contact information.

A businessman recently cited an e-mail incident that turned him off and cost the other person a significant piece of business. The sender was requesting information and suggesting future business opportunities with the recipient. The reply that came back to him had a subject line that read,
“Attached.” That was it! There was no greeting, no message, no words of appreciation, no explanation of the attachment and no closing.

I leave it to you to decide if the individual who requested the information opened the attachment or if he engaged in any follow-up.

Here is one example of how the reply should have been composed:


Dear Mr. Chase,

Thank you for your interest in my programs. I have attached the information you requested. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me by phone at 843-224-4233 or by e-mail at

I look forward to hearing from you.

Warmest regards,

Sam Smith
Big Business Inc.


Many of us have reached a point where we will do anything to save time; but if we lose business in the process, are those few extra minutes we gain worth the price we pay?



Lydia Ramsey

Lydia Ramsey is a leading business etiquette and modern manners expert who offers seminars, keynote speeches, webinars and individual coaching. She works with corporations, associations, colleges and universities as well as individuals.

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