Everything you do, communicates, and speaks volumes about you, your skill set and level of professionalism, as well as your organization’s overall image and brand.

How we communicate, effects our relationships. The key to business success are our relationships. So how you connect with your clients, potential clients, co-workers, supervisors, etc., is extremely important because it impacts a business’ bottom line.

There are many ways we communicate within the business arena. Electronic communication, for example, has a significant impact on how successful our relationships will be.

Here are 12 email etiquette tips to apply if you want to exude a strong professional presence and build positive, productive, and prosperous relationships based on solid communication:

1. Business emails should be returned within 24 hours.

2. Email is not private. Once it’s out there – it’s out there.

3. Apply the ‘Bulletin Board Rule’: if you can’t put it on a bulletin board for anyone to see, then don’t put it in print.

4. If a situation is difficult, don’t use email to deal with it. Always speak directly to the person or call them by phone.

5. Emails should be friendly, but not familiar – keep it professional. Always defer to the formal, especially in how your address your email.

6. Make sure to address your email to the correct person – fill in the ‘to’ section at the end once you have completed a final review and approval of your email. Be careful of ‘autofill’ – it may go to the wrong ‘Jane Doe.’

7. Take care with spelling and the description in the ‘subject’ field. The subject line is the first thing the recipient sees.

8. Don’t use emoticons or text speak – this may be fine for personal communications but not for business.

9. Keep messages brief and to the point. Your tone can’t be heard in email. ‘Less is more’ because it leaves less room for subjective interpretation.

10. Close your email in a professional manner, such as ‘Kind Regards’ or ‘Sincerely.’

11. Your signature line should include yours and your organization’s contact information.

12. Finally, check your spelling, grammar and punctuation before you hit ‘send.’

Erin Crotty is a lawyer turned entrepreneur and the Founder & Director of BloomStra Consulting. She is a certified and trained professional presence expert in business etiquette, protocol, and professional image, through the Protocol School of Washington and the Conselle Institute of Image Management.

Through leadership workshops and coaching, Erin helps her clients harness the power of etiquette and image management to build successful relationships in business and reach their professional goals. Her clients learn how to increase their confidence and credibility, distinguish themselves in any business or social situation and, ultimately, ‘Outclass the Competition’.

If you have questions about how to improve your communication skills and enhance your professional presence, please contact Erin for a complimentary half-hour consultation at ecrotty@bloomstraconsulting.ca or 613-614-4540.