The rush of fresh perspectives in the field of marketing has brought with it some unwelcome baggage. Far too many young professionals feel inclined to use instant messaging short-hand or casual language in e-mails intended for professional correspondence.


The fact that your note does not have the official company letterhead at the top is not an excuse to toss in language like OMG (oh my God), TTYL (talk to you later) or LOL (laughing out loud). Similarly, one does not need inspirational quotes or flowery borders on e-mails and text messages addressed to professional colleagues.


New channels, like e-mail, may have been developed with the intention of serving as informal and rapid forms of intrapersonal communication but they are evolving into the default mode of communication amongst professionals in every industry.


Here are the top 10 rules for maintaining a sense of professionalism in your e-mail responses (as provided by


1. Be concise and to the point

Time is money; don’t waste someone else’s with information that is not pertinent to the discussion at hand. If you have more to say, suggest a phone conversation or memo.


2. Keep your language gender neutral

Gender roles have evolved since the 1950s. Inferring one sex or another may, at the very least, annoy the recipient or, at worst, offend them.


3. Use proper spelling, grammar and punctuation                    

Nothing submarines your argument or reasoning more quickly than faulty spelling or obvious grammatical errors. If you are in doubt, look up the issue through an online grammar source or rewrite the sentence.


4. Avoid long sentences

Sentences that appear more like two paragraphs are likely to be skipped or skimmed. Make sure your important information is digested by using short, concise sentences.


5. Do not attach unnecessary files

Huge attachments or those not necessary to the communication should be avoided. Their inclusion could slow the transmission of the e-mail or clutter the recipient’s system. Compress large attachments or offer alternative means of transmission in the body of the e-mail.


6. Use active instead of passive

An active voice portrays an active response to the needs of your colleague, client or customer. Say “We will process your order today” instead of “Your order will be processed today.”


7. Do not write in CAPITALS                                   

Writing in all CAPS is annoying and difficult to read. The recipient may feel as though you are shouting at them rather than talking to them. Use capitalization sparingly.


8. Add disclaimer to your e-mails

Disclaimers act as the first line of defense for your organization. Make them mandatory on all internal and external communication.


9. Read the e-mail before you send it

It sounds simple but many professionals end up with egg on their face because they didn’t take the time to read the e-mail before clicking “send.” Take the extra couple of minutes and read the message as if you didn’t write it!


10. Do not overuse Reply to All
Not everyone on the receiving end of a mass e-mail needs or even wants to see your response. Choose the appropriate recipients and spare the rest of the crowd.


The final bark

Leave the emoticons to your personal text and e-mail messages; they have no place in the world of business. 🙂