• Protected email viewer:
  • Blog
  • FAQ
  • About

The Rules of Decorum in Business Correspondence

Let's talk about the things that are rather far from information protection, but, nevertheless, are very important for email exchange as a part of business activity. Recently, we've launched a new SFLetter.com account - Business, which allows users have their own domains in email addresses. So today, we want to give you some tips about how business correspondence of a competent and professional man should look.

Correct email subject

The subject should be straight, clear and concise. For example, "meeting date", "a quick question about the presentation" or "change proposals".

People often judge by the subject whether to open an email message or not. Try to specify the topic for the recipient to understand what the email will be about.

Use corporate email address or email with your own domain

If you are an employee, by no means, do not use your personal email at work; be sure to keep a business correspondence only with a corporate email address. If you are an off-the-books employment or a private entrepreneur, we recommend you to have your own domain in email address.

In an extreme case, if you use free email services, your address must consist either your name or your company name, or the specifics of your activities. Never use for business correspondence addresses that are not suitable for it, for example, "bunny30972509724@ ..." or "catlover@ ..." no matter how much you love cats.

Don't forget to click on "Reply to All"

Some email messages, especially in business sphere, are sent for multiple recipients. The response of each of them is necessary and important. So don't forget to click on "Reply to all" to send your reply to all participants of correspondence.

Still, think twice

Nobody wants to read messages from twenty people who are not related to the subject. Sometimes it is even inappropriate. Refrain from "Reply to all" if you are not sure that all of the list of recipients want get your message. This applies to the company's internal mass mailing. It is enough to send the reply only to the letter-writer.

Insert signature block

Give a recipient some information about yourself. Usually it includes your full name, job title, company name and contact details with a telephone number. In addition, you can add your achievements and links to professional social networks, but do not overdo with it. Use the same font, size and color for all emails.

Follow the corporate style rules for the signature block. If the marketing department of your company has not provided it to you, just ask them to bring the appearance of your emails to uniformity.

Business greeting

Do not use laid-back and colloquial phrases, such as "Hey guys!" or "Hi ppl!"

Relaxed nature of messages should not affect the greeting. Such phrases generally are not used in business correspondence. Use "Hi", "Hello", or "Dear John". You will not get any better than this.

Pay special attention to greeting when you are in correspondence with people who are older or higher in status than you are. Especially it concerns to faculty members.

Save the number of exclamation marks

If you decide to convey your emotions by email, please use only one exclamation mark. Sometimes people put a number of exclamation marks at the end of sentence. In this case, email message might seem too emotional or incompetent.

Be careful with humor

Humor can easy disappear without a proper intonation and facial expressions. In business correspondence it is better to leave jokes behind, if you don't know the recipient very well as a person. In addition, what funny to you may not be funny to others.

People of different cultures speak and write differently

Misunderstanding can easily occur due to the cultural differences, especially in emails, when you cannot see your partner during communication. Draw up a text based on the national culture of the interlocutor or the fact that you personally know about him/her.

Keep in mind that different countries can have their own rules and traditions for business communication. For example, in Japan, China and Arab countries people prefer get to know a business partner better before doing business. In this case, emails should be more personal. On the other hand, there are Germany, the US and Scandinavia that prefer to make transactions and solve all issues quickly.

Respond all emails, even if they are not for you

Sometimes it's difficult to respond every email message that comes to inbox due to the high pressure or simple laziness; but it needs to be done. In particular, when a message comes to your address by mistake and the sender expects to get a response. Properly speaking, you may leave this message unanswered, but the answering message is a sign of good taste, especially if this person is your colleague or you work in one industry.

Example: "It seems to me that this message was sent to me by mistake. Please resend it to the right person".

Check every message for punctuation, spelling and grammar mistakes

Mistakes in an email message will not go unnoticed by the recipient. This is one of the key parameters which show your professional attitude.

Do not rely on automatic spell checking. Reread the text, preferably aloud, before sending.

Add the recipient's email address at the end

It is a rigid must in order to avoid accidentally sending an email message before it is completed. Even if you reply to the message, it would be better to remove the address and paste it only when you are sure that the message is ready to be sent.

Double check recipient's address

If you do not use StarForce Content for document protection, you need to be very careful when choosing email recipients. I do not think that your boss would in rave about random sending of sensitive or even classified information to the third parties and its further leakage.

Be very careful when you enter a recipient's name, which is automatically pulled from the address book. It's very easy to choose a wrong name, and accordingly a wrong email address. It can entail inconveniences for you and for the person who receives such a message by mistake.

Use classic fonts

A text in purple with the Comic Sans font. Why not? But for business correspondence it is better to comply with classic style of fonts, colors and text sizes.

The main rules are usability and convenience. Your emails should be easy read by other people.

Generally, the best thing is to use font sizes 10 or 12, and types: Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman. As for color, black is the safest option.

Watch for your tone

Similar to jokes, the tone without intonation in your voice and emotions on your face can be easily adopted in the wrong context. Thus, an interlocutor can perceive your "cool" mood as rage expression or simple rudeness.

To avoid any confusion, we recommend you to read your message aloud before sending. If it sounds harsh to you, you will sound the same way to your interlocutor.

Work on text

Try to predict questions that your interlocutor may ask to get the entire gamut. Give the answers in the first message to save time.