When it comes to writing e-mails and the actual creation process, there really is no difference between personal or business e-mails.
But there are some distinctions that you need to consider!
Differences between Business and Personal E-mail
The primary difference is that business communications are a reflection of your brand i.e. your business. If you communicate with poor grammar, typos, lack of sentence structure and clarity, what will that say about your commercial enterprise?
When it comes to your personal e-mails with family and friends, formality really does not matter as much. In business, formality is a sign of professionalism and respect.
E-mail by it’s vary nature seems informal and relaxed. And for the most part it is. However, your business communications need to be cognizant of the fact that in order for you to build that necessary trust factor, your style will matter. If you are to be perceived as a reliable and legitimate business partner, it’s not a stretch that the little details can make a huge difference.
An example of that is spam. You can spot it a mile away, right? And why is that? Formatting choices, verbiage that is sometime choppy or incoherent, lack of professional structure — all the indicators that let you know whether the Sender is trustworthy and legit are missing.
We all make judgements based on first impressions. We do it every day. On and off-line. First impressions online are many times your one and only chance to leave that oh-so-important positive perception that could mean a new client, order or business partner.
In my annual survey at the end of last year, a whole bunch of folks asked that I cover business and commercial related e-mail topics. I sort of chuckled at that because I already do. I have an entire site dedicated to just that!
A little backstory…
When I started typing about e-mail etiquette, over 20 years ago, folks started asking about business related issues. They made it clear that they didn’t really care about the personal e-mail related topics I was typing about. Keep in mind that back then e-mail was so new — and embracing online for business was not yet mainstream.
14 years ago I decided that Net [email protected] would be solely about everyday e-mail issues and I started a business focused e-mail site BusinessEmailEtiquette.com. That site covers it all — with an eBook that I update each year as well!
For those interested in Business E-mail and technology best practices, here are a few of my top articles over there to start you out:
- Email Etiquette Basics for Business
- Business Texting Etiquette: 10 Tips for Professionals
- Business Email Sign-off Considerations
You can also sign-up for new post notices on that site as well in the right-sidebar.
Details Matter in Personal E-mail Too!
Your personal e-mail communications include e-mailing other websites, customer service personnel helping you with your order, or new groups or forums with like-minded members. Being perceived positively, even though it is not “business”, is still important to you having positive experiences.
I e-mail the same whether it be personal or business. It just comes natural to me. In personal e-mails a little less formal with no business signature files, maybe, but not much else is different.
Over time, I believe folks got out of the habit of communicating with the written word. So there is a learning curve. But make no mistake, being able to communicate properly with the written word is a skill worth building. That is not going to change.
Being a clear communicator, checking for typos and relying on words vs. formatting, should apply no matter who or why your emailing. This approach will help you to avoid any unnecessary misunderstandings as well. Win-win!