I have had inquiries about what is different regarding email etiquette in different countries. Being more folks are corresponding with others all over the globe, it is easy to understand why this is a concern.
Email Etiquette = Courtesy
Yes, of course, there are cultural differences. However, courtesy, respect, and clarity in all communications, including the proper use of technology, are universal. In other cultures, politeness and formality in communications are a sign of respect.
Email etiquette means that when you email strangers or those you do not yet know very well, you type with the highest formality and courtesy regardless of their physical location. You continue this approach until the other side indicates you can relax and communicate in a less formal tone.
You’ll never go wrong by offering the highest level of formality when addressing and communicating with those from other countries. After all, formalities are in place for a reason — to show respect with courtesy and consideration.
We all know onliners that incorrectly believe that email is informal and an excuse to type as though they didn’t make it out of the sixth grade. If they don’t mind being perceived as someone who lacks in education or courtesy, that is their choice.
Caring for Different Reasons
After covering this topic for over two decades, I can attest that you cannot make folks courteous. As pointed out to me on occasion, some don’t care enough about what others think of them to extend the effort and that level of courtesy.
That got me thinking… I am not courteous so much because I care what people who don’t know me may think about me. I’ve never really worried about what strangers think. Instead, I am courteous and respectful because that’s the kind of person I want to be.
What exactly is courtesy in email? Courtesy is trying to type in complete sentences with appropriate capitalization and grammar and no typos and communicating with clarity and respect to avoid misunderstandings.
What does that say about you if you don’t make these simple efforts?
Courtesy = Respect
When it comes to global contacts, courtesies are a sign of respect. However, think about how that lack of effort with someone not from your culture may perceive your inability to communicate with the written word? What if they are not yet very good at English and are relying on you to be clear so that they understand your message?
Once again, as you can see, email is not “all about me.” There are always at least two onliners involved, and it behooves both sides to exercise their best effort, courtesy, and clarity in their communications until they know each other better. Even then, it’s still worth the effort.
Whether you are in the next city, state, country, or across the globe.