The Business Society: Email Etiquette

The Business Society: Email Etiquette


– My name is Professor
Murolo and along with Professor Linda Meltzer,
I believe she’s here, is going to oversee this
and I hope to talk to you at the end about what’s going
on and hopefully you’ll join the business society next year, thank you. Here you go, Russ. – Thanks. (audience applauding) Hi, everybody, thank you for inviting me. The topic, email etiquette, has become a big problem
with business people today. Because most of you probably
are accustomed to texting on a regular basis. But in the business world,
texting isn’t as accepted as it is with all of you
on a day to day basis. The primary reason is that email
has a trail, and a history. As a CPA and in the business world, people, your business, your
employers, your coworkers, want to read that, want
to see what you’re saying, who you’re saying it
to, when did you say it. And they want to look back for years. Email hasn’t really been
replaced yet by anything. Again, I would say that most of you, maybe a sign of hands, text
more often than you email. My children never email. Most of you do text. When you come into the
business environment, they don’t want you to text. They want to have control
over what you’re texting, and how you’re texting it. And being very professional
about what you say. The tool or fool is
basically is email a tool, or will you look like a fool
when you’re corresponding. Email is a tool, that’s what we forget. Calculators are a tool,
computers are tools, email is a tool, and you
have to know how to use it. You’re going to customize
your use of email based on the software that you use. You’re gonna customize it based on the types of businesses
that you work with. It’s going to help you
correspond in your career, your business, and it’s going
to help with your reputation. How you present yourself in
an email is very important. The right tools, but the wrong
execution gets you nowhere. You have the right tools, you have email, and you just want to expand
on how you work with that. Take it serious. Email is very important
because it’s the first place that you generally
correspond with somebody. Remember, how you look in that email, is almost like me walking up to one of you and shaking your hand and introducing you for the first time to who I am. I can’t do that because I’m
on the other side of the room or I’m on the other side of the office, I’m on the other side of the
state, I’m in another country. How that email comes across
is how you’re going to look immediately on that first
email, that first sign. We tend to get casual with people we know. When you’re first
corresponding with an email, you don’t know who’s reading the email, you don’t know who is
going to look at you, you don’t know what their
response is going to be, they don’t know what you sound like. You can hear my voice,
you can hear my tone. You can hear when my voice cracks, you can hear when I laugh. Email doesn’t give you any of that. But the person on the other side is interpreting how you
sound by your email. In the firm that I work for, we correspond mainly with our
clients on a day-to-day basis. Hundreds, several hundreds,
sometimes thousands of emails. During tax season, we’re
an accounting firm, during tax season we
get thousands of emails to manage in and out. When you send me an email, am
I the one reading that email? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe it’s going to somebody else. You have to be aware of who
you’re communicating with. If I’m communicating
with a government agency, I’m going to have a different
voice, a different tone, than a lawyer, than a prospective client. A client in distress, a client
who owes a lot of taxes, a client who’s losing their home. Your email, the correspondence
related to that topic, is very important. You have to come across the
way you would want to sound as if you were sitting
next to that person. We email with individuals,
and we email with businesses. Our firm has created an always rule. Two years ago when we did a
conversation on email etiquette, it was a never list. Now it’s an always list. Always because it had a little bit more of a positive feeling to it, but we always take our business
communications seriously. We always want to be responsive. Today’s email, from two
years ago, from 10 years ago, it’s changed, the environment of email constantly develops and changes. More and more people and businesses are communicating via email. More and more people are
not picking up the phone. More and more people don’t have time. They’re busier, they
have busier schedules. So the always be responsive, it may be that you’re just
going to send out a reply to somebody saying, I received your email, and I will get back to you. That may be enough for now. Letting them know that you received their email is very important. You may not be able to
resolve their problems, you may not be able to
communicate with them right away. Don’t respond in an email
while you’re in a car. You will be responsive in some way. A responsive tone is just,
I received your email. That is good enough. It’s very hard to know who
receives emails and who doesn’t. Let’s say, something, god
forbid, happens to me right here. I grab my chest. I wind up on the floor. Is the first thing you’re going to do is email the hospital? Email the ambulance? Email my wife? Probably not. Because it’s important. I hope you think it’s important. It’s important to communicate immediately. We still pick up the phone
for things that are important. We still run out the
door and call for help when things are important. Think about email in that regard. When it’s important, email’s probably not the first
solution to communicating. When it’s really important. Be professional. Always remember who
you’re communicating with, you’re not communicating
with maybe a relative, a friend, a spouse. Clean your email. That was a new one because emails become, our email boxes become
more and more inundated. Managing your email so
that you can communicate more effectively has become
much more important today. Our philosophy going back to
the hospital ambulance route. Face-to-face contact is our
preference for communicating. It’s not easy, people are far away, and people are very busy. But when it’s important, face-to-face communication
is our preference. Our next preference is picking up a phone. Because a phone is instant responsiveness. I ask a question, you answer it. You asked me back, you expand on it. Conversations like this
can happen ongoing. Email is generally not the
place for a conversation. Email is generally the place
for one question, one answer. One, I’m going to take care of this, don’t worry about it, no answer. But a communication back
and forth, a conversation, that needs to take place, it can take place when you’re texting, because it’s pretty
instantaneous, you’re texting. Email is not like that because the boxes are going in and out, people are working on something else, you don’t know where they’re sitting, you don’t know what they’re doing. They may not be able to
be responsive right away. If you have to expand on a
conversation, choose one or two. Email as a tool, you’re not
texting, we’re not tweeting, and we’re not instant messaging. The abbreviations have to go away. You’ve got to get rid
of are you, as letters. Our spelling is terrible
today, because of email. Because the computer’s
gonna fix our spelling. Try not to abbreviate in the
professional environment. Certainly don’t sign off with see ya. Greetings are vital. This goes back to the
first email that you sent. The first email that you sent
is a handshake with somebody. You want to have a firm handshake, you don’t want it to look like this. (clearing throat) Excuse me. Greetings set the stage
for our signatures. The greeting is to who it’s to. Who it’s from. Re, we were discussing
this a few minutes ago. Re, the subject line, is one
of the most important tools in our email, to organize
it, to search for it later, to be able to categorize everything. Re being blank is not the way to communicate in a
professional environment. Replying and winding up
with a Re, Re, Re, Re, Re, if any of you have ever seen that email, that’s not going to help
people communicate later, it’s not going to help
them locate your email, it’s not going to help
them prioritize your email, it’s not going to help
them communicate with you. The sign off, again very vague, John. This is more of how the
greeting should work. Hi, to the client, to the
customer, to the person, is fine. It’s a little casual, so this is probably not a
first-time communication. It’s basically saying, greetings. Your To box, Julie Smith in this case, It can be used as your greeting, but we prefer to personalize it. Again it opens up the
door to the communication. It’s better to have a dear as
if you are writing a letter for the first time. If you don’t know how
they refer to themselves, you will do with dear Mrs. Smith. You won’t call people by their first names because you don’t know
how they’ll accept it. If they sign off from
Julie, or Love, Julie, then you’ll have a casual breakdown and the communication will
be on friendlier terms. In this case, hi, Julie, we’re
gonna clean up that fish, sincerely, John Waters, CEO. You’re basically saying who you are. That’s important. Your role in the company and your title can be a very important
thing in the email. This may be the first time that you’re introducing
yourself in that role. Confidential emails. Nothing is confidential in an email. Don’t assume that it is. You can write confidential, you
can mark it up confidential, but you have to assume that
email can go a number of places. You have no control over it. Similar to your tweets and
your other communications. It gets out there. There’s really nothing confidential. If you want to mark it confidential, more people will most likely read it because they will be more interested in what is so confidential
that it came in that way. Just be sensitive that you
can say it’s confidential, but it may not be to the
people who receive it. Just treat that a little
bit more cautiously. You can mark your subject
line as confidential, which most people do, you
can direct it to people, you can say in the email who
you want to read that email, but remember, once you
hit send, it’s gone. It’s out of your control. If something is confidential, that face-to-face meeting
might be the better way to go. Get to the point fast. Unlike my speaking here,
talking about email etiquette, you’re going to get to
the point much quicker. Your email should not take
a lot of time to read. People are busy, you
want people to read it, you want to convey to them the urgency. Get to the point very quickly. If it’s just a matter of saying I wanted to discuss x
subject, that’s fine. That tells them what you want to do and then you can follow up
with a call or a meeting or a communication via email. If it’s important, keep it very brief. I hope, most of you are
in the business school, and you’re studying business classes, so I’m sure you know that
Caps Lock is yelling. You do know that. When you put the Caps Lock on your email, you’re talking very loud. We use Caps Lock for forms, but we have to remember to
take them off for email. In our office we use, for tax returns everything
is in Caps Lock. When you move over to your
email you need to remove that. It softens the tone. Unless of course you
really do want to yell. If you want to yell, If you
want to get your point across, exclamation points all over
the place are wonderful ways to communicate if you’re really angry. On a day-to-day basis with your clients, with the government agencies, with your professors, small caps. Acronyms. Acronyms are those
abbreviations that we use. They’re not good for email because they can be misinterpreted. Somebody has STD, they could
have short-term disability. In the accounting world we
have clients who have STD. We don’t refer to that in an email. Save the date, we’re going
to have this lecture today. I’m going to put out a flyer,
in an email, that says STD. It’s going to raise a
lot of attention but STD means a lot of different
things to a lot of people. You may not want to use
abbreviations and acronyms. The building that you see up there, STD, is Springfield Training Depot. I’m sure it gets a lot of
attention and gets a lot of jokes, but the abbreviations don’t work. Your distribution list,
who you’re emailing to. Be very careful about
who you’re emailing to. In this case, an email was sent, and it included a person
by the name of Howie Plank. The email goes on to discuss how we’re going to replace Howie Plank. How he is going to be
terminated from his job, but he’s indispensable, and he’s responsible for
a couple of projects, so let’s not tell Howie Plank. You have to be very
careful, once you hit send, that’s out there. Go slow, read your distribution list, know who’s on the distribution list, and don’t hit reply all
unless you actually mean all the people who are on that email and on the chain to get it. Watch your distribution list. When I’m emailing people at my office, there is usually a to, right, we have to who the main concern is, and then we have copy, and
then we have blind copy. Blind copy is, I don’t
want anyone else to know that I’m sending this to you. There could be information
that’s sensitive, it could be I’m just
putting it in your inbox so that you’re aware this
conversation’s taking place, but I’m not going to tell anybody. I don’t use blind copy too often, especially with my own
staff in my own office because they should know
everything that’s going on. But the to box and the
copy are very important. The to box is the person
who it’s meant for. That’s the person who’s
going to take action, that’s the person who you
wanted to respond to your email. You could have a to, all these people, but if you do that, all
those people should respond. If I’m just looking to
have one person respond, I will drop everybody after
Frank Jones to a copy. I’m copying you but I’m not
expecting you to do anything with it, I’m not expecting a response. How you work with tos and copies
depends on the environment that you work in. Some offices say, send to to everybody, others say just copy me
when you want me included, but I’m not going to take an action. That’s how we treat it in my office. If you copy me, I’m reading
it, but I’m not replying to it. Your email, how you work with your email, you’re going to customize
around your environment, around your schedules, around
what you’re used to doing. You’re going to organize it in a way that’s going to work best for you. There was somebody who
organized their inbox. They had inbox one through 31. Each box was organized
for a day of the month. Everything they had to read or do was dropped into this inbox. I’ve never seen that before
but it was very interesting to see how different people
organize their inbox. How they organize their emails
and how they sort by subject. This person was most
efficient by knowing that, okay, tomorrow’s the 26th, 26th? I think so. Tomorrow’s the 26th, I’m
going to look at my 26, and that’s everything I have
to do tomorrow with my emails. Anything that comes in tomorrow I’m going to throw into the
27th, the 28th, the 29th. They were very happy with that. Keep it simple, including
your organization. The email on the left,
nobody could understand. It’s long-winded, it has a
lot of complicated formulas, it’s too complex, nobody’s
going to respond to that. Keep it brief, keep it simple, make sure that you proofread your own emails before you send them. It’s always advisable. Once you hit send its gone. There is a recall button. You can recall an email
but it doesn’t say anything other than I didn’t mean
to send this to you. It doesn’t help a lot. The respond we talked about. You’re going to respond
pretty quickly to an email that comes in in one way or another. You’re going to resolve
or you won’t resolve and you’ll tell people when
you’re going to resolve it. Organizing your email, organizing your email that’s
best for how you work. If you’re an accountant like we are, we might organize our
inboxes by tax matters versus accounting matters
versus staff matters. Then, clean. Cleaning is basically cleaning your email inbox on a regular basis. It gets harder and harder to do. More and more people are complaining about how their inbox is inundated. It’s very important that
you shut off your email for a certain period of time. You’re all young and you can
do many things at one time. A lot of us can’t. I can do one thing at one time. I have to even shut off my inbox. So that I’m not seeing
different pop-ups during the day and distracting me against what I’m doing. Organizing and cleaning your
inbox is very important. Trying to set aside time
to do it is very important. When you start in different corporations, they’ll have rules about how
long you can keep your email, when it gets archived. Remember, a lot of people
can read your emails. People can read your emails
in a business environment, people can read your
emails as you send them. There is nothing really private about it. Be very careful about what
you say and how you say it. A lot of people over the
years have gotten in trouble for saying and doing the wrong
thing just through an email. Or just being misinterpreted. Let’s call it just, you didn’t understand what I said. Again, tone doesn’t
come across in an email. Sarcasm and jokes don’t
come across in an email. Be careful, sarcasm can
get you into trouble. Sarcasm can look like a stated fact when you really meant to say of course I would never do that. A sense of humor is like a fingerprint. They’re all different. What you think is funny,
I may not think is funny. I’m sure what I think is funny you probably wouldn’t
think is very funny either. Unless you’re into tax humor. What is funny to somebody
else may not be funny to yourself, it may not
be funny to your employer, it may not be funny to your professor. Again, proofread it. Often I might find myself writing an email and I can’t hear the tone
of my voice in my email. I hear my voice all the time. You’ve never heard my voice before. Often when I’m writing an email
and I’m not really too sure of who’s receiving it on the other end, I will have one or two
other people read my email. Tell me how this sounds to you. It’s an excellent way to
send an email correspondence when you’re really not
too sure how you sound. Because our voices don’t
come across in an email. I’ve had clients I’ve never
met and I’ve never spoken to and I’ve only corresponded via email. They’re on the other side of the world, and we just go back and forth in an email. I have to be very careful
about how I sound. I also have to be very careful
how I sound culturally. What certain cultures sound like and how we represent
ourselves is all different. We may not sound the
same in another culture, in another country, in another
environment, to other people. Having somebody else reread your email might be a good way to do business, especially for the first
time you’re sending it. Who is the recipient, who
is reading your email. On the other end of your email, on the other end of the world, there’s a person there
who is reading your email. Try to envision what it would
be like to send an email to a stranger and how they’re
going to hear your voice. How are they going to interpret. What can I say that
softens what I’m saying. How do I start out with a friendlier tone. If it’s a very serious topic, maybe I need to state that
this is a very serious matter and I prefer to communicate
with you over the phone. However you present yourself, remember there’s another person on the other side who’s reading that. Sometimes the person who
you think is reading it is not the person who’s
reading it because some people have administrators who read their emails. Some people have personal
assistants who read their emails. You may be very comfortable
emailing this one person but he or she might have a secretary, or an assistant who’s
sorting through emails, and filtering through them, or just copied on every single email. Every single email that
comes into a CEO of a company could be going to two
or three other people to help them manage those
emails more efficiently. Spellcheck. Check it once, check it
twice, check it three times. If you spell words incorrectly, which I’m sure you do when you’re texting, and sometimes it fixes it, and sometimes it fixes it incorrectly. If you are sending an email, and you’re going to spell incorrectly, people are going to make assumptions. Maybe you didn’t mean to misspell it. People nowadays email from their mobile phones, their iPhones, and at the end of the
email it generally says, please excuse any typos, I’m
all thumbs, or whatever it is, because we’re writing from
these very small devices. That’s okay, you can put
a disclaimer that says anything I wrote incorrectly here or anything I misspelled is not my fault. That could work okay. But you have to know
who you’re talking to. The first email that you
sent to somebody you probably want to make sure that
it’s spelled correctly. Otherwise you’ll wind up
like the Nationals did on opening day with the
wrong uniforms spelled. Back to our proofreading. Proofread, read through
it a couple of times. If you’re not a good speller, and you don’t have a good spell check on, have somebody else proofread. There is nothing else wrong with it. I don’t know if you caught that, bad spellers of the world untie. Not unite. Before you hit send, take your time. Take that one extra second
to reread your email. We move very quickly in the
business world, in school, what you’re doing on a daily basis. We act and we react. Instantaneous because of
information, because of phones, because of mobile phones,
because of cell phones. We move so fast. Take a deep breath before you hit send. There is nothing wrong with that. Nobody is going to get upset
for you taking a few seconds more to make sure that that
email is written properly. This is a recap of basically
a few things to avoid. What I found over the last two years, three years with email
is, more and more people are communicating more
and more through email. Maybe we just don’t want
to talk to each other. Maybe it is efficient way to do business because you can send an
email to somebody at 9 PM and you might get a
response back the next day. As we progress into this
world where people’s inboxes are getting fuller and fuller, there is going to be a level
of manners and etiquette that is going to change the way we email. Because if you send me an
email and I don’t respond it doesn’t mean I don’t like you. It doesn’t mean that I’m ignoring you. It probably means I didn’t see it, or I’m inundated and I can’t respond, or it got blocked in my junk box because I’ve never
received an email from you. Don’t be overly sensitive
by the lack of response. But remember going back to the beginning of this conversation, if it’s important to you, if it’s really truly
important to you, email works. But if it’s really important, and you’ve got to dial
911 and pick up a phone. Because you’re not going
to do it via email. There is nothing wrong with
calling somebody up and saying I sent you an email, when you get a chance take a look at it, follow it up with a call. I think what will happen over
the next few years or months, or the way technology works is days, is that people will accept fewer
responses or slow responses via email just because the communication is growing and growing. You’re going to have to
get into your own pattern and into your own style of response. What I tell my clients is,
you can send me an email, but I have about a 48
hour turnaround time. Because I’m physically here
with you, talking to you, emails are still coming through. The questions are still coming through. I tell my clients I have
a 48 hour turnaround time. A lot of them don’t like that. Most people in business
want instant responses. They’re sitting at their
desk right now dealing with an issue or a project and
they want to get it done. I say if it’s really important, then you’ll pick up the phone,
and we’ll schedule a time. As you go through and
you start doing email and getting away from your
texting which is going to be less and less accepted as a business tool. If you want to invent something, great. Invent the ability for
text to wind up in an email into my inbox so that every
text I sent from my phone I have a history in my archive. Because that’s what people need. Because texting is becoming so much more predominant as well. We’re communicating more
and more via texting. But texting is not the
professional preference tool, it’s not the tool that’s going to be used in business right now. As you start to migrate to those emails, they’ll feel like it’s really
slow compared to texting. It’s like what mail is to me. Sending a letter, three
day turnaround time, that’s email to the texter. Just keep that in mind
that as you go through and you start to migrate
to more and more emails, just try to go slow and remember that what could be misunderstood will be. Any questions?

4 thoughts on “The Business Society: Email Etiquette

  1. Hi! Nice video you have there! Very Infomative clip you have; have you heard about " Vidadsmedia Email Tools " (google the exact phrase)? My stepsister had some dealings with them and was impressed by their awesome knowledge on email tools!

  2. I was discriminated by Russel Mantell at Kweit, Mantell & DeLucia for being transgender and Tribeca Pediatrics by Leslie Pennypacker and the doctor owner and their combined actions landed me in the hospital and destroyed my spirit and career. Now I am struggling financially and can lose everything. I hope they realize their treatment of me as a person can lead me to suicide. Let it be on their conscience. They could care less and are truly mean and heartless people💔

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