With the success of my previous post on Business Email Etiquette, which you can’t see by the comments on the page, but by rather the number of people who mentioned it to me in person, I decided to do a follow up blog to hit on a few more points that I missed. Apologies for the week delay, as the annual winter cold caught hold of me! So without further ado,
9) Separating important points through spacing and bolding
Often important points, times and required actions are lost in lengthy emails as people begin to skim and their eyes glaze over. To ensure that your message is reaching its intended target, it is often useful to separate out important points onto their own line with spaces on either side or to bold the important words or phrases within the text so that they stand out from the rest of the words. Anything you can do to make it easier for your reader to spot, understand and retain your message is extremely important to do—especially in emails.
10) RSVPs and Action-response
Make sure that if an email needs an RSVP or if it has an actionable component to it, that the action is front and centre. It should be mentioned in the subject line, in the body of the email, and then again at the end. It is useful to include links to registration pages or places like Eventbrite. Auto-calendar reminders for ical or gmail is also very useful as these RSVPs are automatically placed into your recipient’s calendar. Avoid having your email accidentally deleted without a response by making it obvious that there is a “next step” or an “action” that must be taken.
11) Events, meeting and e-vites.
Like most things that seem fairly straight forward, inviting people to events or meetings has somehow become more and more complicated. With the influx of e-vites to everyone in your address book, (many to those who need not attend), it stands to reason that there are a number of things that you should know and include before you hit send. The next time you go to send an e-vite to a meeting or a party ensure that you have the following information:
- Where it is located exactly using the address and the location within the building. For example: The Alberta Room on the Plus 15 Level at the Palliser Hotel on 133 9th Avenue SW Calgary Alberta, Canada T2P 2M3
- What time it starts and what time you should be there by at the latest so that you don’t interrupt the proceedings. For example: Networking 5:30pm Guest Speaker: 6:00pm or Doors are closed at 2:30pm so please arrive early.
- The purpose of the meeting including subjects to be discussed and the outcomes that are expected (i.e. A meeting agenda)
- Who else is going to the meeting including guest speakers, team members and other companies
- The price, if any and how you can pay
- Check in or security requirements, if any
- Is there parking, and if so how much does it cost?
- Is there food, and if so is it sit down or cocktail-style?
When all of these questions are addressed, it helps your recipients to decide if they really need to attend or not. This will help keep the meeting to those who absolutely must be there, and those who are actually interested in attending. When you give all of the information people are better able to make an informed decision about whether or not to attend, and how to do so to ensure the best time. The more your attendees know, the smoother the event or meeting will go. (And who would argue that they would want a more hectic and less organized event?) This also allows the meeting to be more productive and useful to everyone involved because you can focus on the purpose of the event instead of the questions surrounding it.
Have any other Business Email Etiquette pet peeves? Let me know in the comments below!