Email Etiquette For Business: 5 Tips To Help You Present Yourself As A Professional

As the world becomes more and more hurried, it seems that email etiquette for business is falling by the wayside. However, keeping the rules of business letter writing alive and applying them to your email communications is a great way to present yourself in the most professional light possible and to make your clients and associates feel respected.

Here are 5 tips to help you write better, more professional, and polite email business letters.

1) Greetings and Salutations

Remember when you were in school and learned how to write a letter? The first thing you learned was the salutation – the “Dear so and so.” While “Dear sir,” isn’t likely to be the greeting you use in an email, you do still want to include a salutation. Common salutations, if you are communicating with this person for the first time include:

Dear,
Hello,
Thank you,

Proper email etiquette for business will include a comma after the salutation or a period at the end depending on the greeting. For example, “Dear Anne,” or “Thank you, Anne.”

2) Use Complete Words and Full Phrases

While it’s common to use acronyms or text speak like LOL and TTFN, just don’t do it. This is appropriate for friends and family, not for business associates. Even if you become friends with your customers, in general, keep the use of acronyms to a minimum and even then use them only after your customer or associate has.

3) Check Spelling and Punctuation

It takes five seconds to hit the spell check button on your email toolbar. If you have frequent misspellings and poor grammar you’re making an indelible impression on your associate or client that you may not be able to remove. Do your best to put your best foot forward in your email communications. A quick spell check and grammar check just tells your client you take the time to communicate effectively and correctly, you’re a professional and your communication with them is important to you.

4) Get To the Point

Respect the time of your business associates and clients. That doesn’t mean you jump right into the meat of your email though. Make sure you still include a friendly sentence or two to inquire about how the person is doing or to introduce yourself. This is courteous and expected of you. However, it’s also important to get to the point of your email as quickly as possible.

Time is our most precious and valuable commodity because we cannot get it back once it is gone. Show your associates you understand that.

5) Closing Remarks

Finally, once you’ve wrapped up what you have to say, it’s time for the good old-fashioned closing. Sincerely is considered a bit too old-fashioned in this day and age, but the following are quite acceptable:

Regards
Best
Best regards
Warm regards
Thank you

When writing an email to a client, prospect, or business associate, it is important to make sure you present yourself in the best light possible. That means spending a little extra time on your communications and following a few simple email etiquette for business rules.

Finding Divine Gifts – Coming Fully Into the Present Moment

The divine is always with us and always waiting for US to recognize and welcome its presence. That is its gift to us. However, to receive this gift, we must be in the present. An important aspect for being fully in the present moment is “Completing Incompletions.” An incompletion is simply that – something that is not complete. It could be anything: unpaid bills; anger or resentment toward someone or thing; projects around the house; something you said you would do but then never did, etc.

Something in our lives that is not complete holds a portion of our energy until it is complete. At some level we are thinking about it, worrying about it, trying to figure out what to do about it. Even if you think you’ve forgotten about it and let it go, you haven’t. This is the body’s natural tendency toward integrity, toward being complete and free.

To the extent we have incompletions in our life we are being robbed of vital life force energy, energy we could be using to create an extremely fulfilling life. Incompletions also block us from receiving clear guidance from our higher selves. We’ve got part of ourselves holding the energy of these incompletions and therefore we cannot pay full attention to the divine messages trying to get through. Actually, the message that is trying to get through is “complete your incompletions.” That’s why we keep thinking and worrying about them.

When it comes to completing incompletions in relationships (whether with a mother, father, sibling, spouse, friend, or co-worker) a big part is forgiveness – forgiveness both for ourselves and others. Interestingly, forgiveness means to “give as before,” no longer withholding or holding back. (Side note: we all think forgiveness is a great thing, and I agree, however, have you ever noticed that forgiveness has judgment built into it? If you feel you must forgive someone, you have passed judgment on them that what they have done is bad, wrong, and should not have happened. Now who’s the bad guy? Interesting, yes?)

There are a couple of good metaphors that can help us better understand the importance of truly letting go of the supposed “wrongs” we believe another person has done to us. Being angry with, spiteful toward, or withholding from another person is like holding a hot coal in your own hand with the idea that you are going to throw it at them – but you never do. It just burns and burns YOU. Or, said another way, it’s like drinking poison expecting the other person to die. In these examples you can see it makes no sense. All you have to do is drop the hot coal and don’t take the poison.

Incompletions in relationships are some of the most detrimental and life-sucking ones we can experience. However, all the incompletions in our life, from the $10 you may still owe someone, to the book you borrowed and have yet to return, to the projects around the house you keep putting off. They all drain you each and every moment. For truly free and energized living you must complete these incompletions. Identifying and completing your incompletions is a key piece of my coaching system. You can experience the freedom accomplishing this can provide in your life.

Try this:

Look into all the areas of your life. What is obviously incomplete? Make a list of those things. Just making the list and getting these things out of your head and onto paper will restore some energy for you. Then look at the list and select one or two things to complete. Start with a couple of easy ones so you can build momentum, and then work up to the more challenging incompletions. As you complete things, one by one, cross them off the list with a big smile on your face, then take on the next one that feels right – until you’ve crossed them all off the list.

Notice the amazing energy restored at each step along the way, and the exponentially rising access to major good mojo!

Presentation Design – The Right Graph

Microsoft does not know a heckuva lot about presentation design, but one thing they do correctly in PowerPoint is to make available different types of graphs so that you can match the graph type to the point you’re trying to make with your data. There are twelve different graph types available with PowerPoint 2000, but few of those styles work well in the low-resolution world of computer-based presentations. With few exceptions, here is how you want to use the following types:

o Pie Graphs for Share

o Bar Graphs for Comparative Amounts

o Line Graphs for Trends, Time

Pie Graphs

Pie graphs (commonly misnomered pie charts) are one of the more overused, and hence misused, types of graphs, primarily because they are so easy to make, and easy to make look good. They are misused when chosen to show amounts rather than share. The beauty of pie graphs is that they show so clearly what they are supposed to show, i.e., how much of the whole each element contributes. In most cases the actual amounts – in this case percentages – are actually secondary to the area of the slices in terms of telling the story.

When you look at a pie graph with five or fewer slices, your brain can quickly ascertain which groups dominate. We often see pie graphs with more than 5 elements, but they then become more difficult to comprehend in short order. In most cases, consider whether your story needs to include details about all the players, or whether a group of insignificant contributors can be grouped as “others”.

If you want to show how much volume each element contributes, rather than what fraction, you’ll want to use a bar graph.

Bar Graphs

To show relative sizes of different segments as well as the actual amounts, you’ll want to use a bar graph. Bar graphs are designed to show volumes against a y-axis that clearly delineates the units of measure. By having a series of bars next to each other, we can see how each element compares with the others as well as what absolute volume the element represents.

There are variations on the bar graph, such as a stacked bar, where different elements are stacked on top of each other to form a series, or a 100% bar graph, where all the bars are the same height but are split to show what percent of the whole the volume reflects. In a presentation environment, esoteric options are best to be avoided.

Line Graphs

Line graphs have the unique advantage of speaking to inherent right-brain prejudices about information. That is, when typically conditioned western minds see a graph with no labeling, they automatically assign “volume” to the y-axis, with “up” meaning “more”, and a time-line to the x-axis, with the left side meaning most recent. Just as we read from left-to-right, rightward motion subconsciously means positive motion.

You would want to use a line graph, then, to show a progression in amount from one point in time to another. The elevation of the line at any one point represents the quantity of the tracked data at that moment. Audiences, wanting to be the first-to-know, will automatically make assumptions about the types of values x-axes and y-axes represent. Don’t disappoint them.

Data labels

Graphs are a great way of making complex information easily understood. But graphs work best only when you properly integrate words, numbers and images. Whenever possible, label the elements of your graph directly on the elements themselves, rather than relying on the ever-popular clarity killer, the legend. Legends require too much effort on the part of listeners to discern exactly what each data point is. Just be certain your labels don’t clutter up the otherwise clear “picture” a good graph can make.

If you have a number of graphs in your presentation, you’ll want to avoid dumping a data overload on your audience by over-labeling each one. In fact, in many cases you can tell your story forcibly enough by only the size of your data elements, without burdening their minds with numbers that they’re likely to forget by the end of the presentation. However, it’s also not a bad idea to have what we call “reference slides” that do contain all the data attached to the end of your main slide deck. To really impress your crowd, install hyperlinks to these slides from the ones in your main show, and when some vice-president makes a stink about wanting to know the whole story, zap to your total-info slide and give him what he wants. He probably won’t ask again.