Appropriate Protocol, Netiquette in Email Communications Builds Confidence, Boosts Business

Protocol and Etiquette

In contemporary world, thorough knowledge and use of proper manners is essential for establishing good relationships at all levels of interaction. Although standards for proper behavior have existed since the beginning of time, protocol and etiquette are the means by which good relationships are maintained and accomplished by implementing these conventional standards.

A lack of knowledge about protocol and etiquette results in offending others and hurting our business.

Robert W. Frye, a US certified protocol professional, in his article posted through lettgroup.com in February 2011 writes about  how protocol helps people excel in business. According to Frye, protocol by itself is not a competitive advantage rather it’s the professional application of protocol principles and techniques to a specific event that makes it so.

How many times have you heard the question, “What’s the right protocol for this or that?”  Not knowing the answer can cause you to inadvertently offend your key client and possibly sabotage a long developed business relationship.  Not knowing the answer can also greatly undermine your first meeting with an important client. If protocol is not part of your competitive mix then you’re leaving yourself vulnerable.

This article addresses the important aspects of business e-mail . We will deal with different aspects of business protocol and etiquette in the upcoming editions.

Protocol and etiquette can be categorized into social, business and international and each part is exercised in our daily life and activities.

The introductions we make every day with the people we meet, the business cards we exchange with business communities, the business e-mails we send and receive daily, the people we meet from different cultures and the communication style we implement (Cross-cultural communication), the corporate or business gifts we take and give, the deals or business negotiations we conduct, these all issues are addressed in protocol and etiquette.

Protocol guides how we behave socially, conduct business and interact in specific situations. This has positively impacted on how people live and work together, with less friction caused at times by barriers in the socio cultural environment that we operate in.

Traditionally protocol tended to have a narrow definition and therefore was classified as of operational rather than strategic significance. However, in today’s business and diplomatic world, Protocol has become sophisticated and a strategic asset.

Protocol is more than escorting visitors and order of precedence. In government and corporate world, it enables people of diverse backgrounds and social orientations to carry on business in a friendly atmosphere and manage today’s complex and cosmopolitan world with ease and finesse. Organizations need to equip their staff with skills in protocol through training. This investment will build solid and productive relationships with business associates and will result in better outcomes.

Relationships could be fostered or damaged more quickly through the use of e-mail than by any other form of written material. This puts the e-mail user on the vigilant side about the content handled.

Business Email Communication Protocol and Etiquette

Etiquette is defined as the rules governing socially acceptable behavior, which varies greatly depending on who you are with, your relationship to that person and the environment that you are in. If you are writing an email to coworkers that you communicate with frequently and have developed working relationships with them, you can be as flexible as the environment allows. However, if you are corresponding with a customer or client, you will need to be more careful with your behavior.

In the Internet you need email etiquette; Netiquette. “Netiquette” is the etiquette of cyberspace.

One of the areas in protocol is the order of precedence, where we should keep the hierarchy and precedence as the norm allows. This works in email communication as well. Many people are obsessed with hierarchy so we need to take care when adding many names with different titles to the “To” field. For instance, if you are sending an email to the managing director, to the deputy and other professionals; you should bring the managing director first and others should follow according to their title and hierarchy.

Why Worry About Email Protocol and Etiquette!

When it comes to business e-mail communication, we need to make an impression that we are a credible professional enterprise and someone that will be easy and a pleasure to do business with. We only have one chance to make that first impression, which will be invaluable to building trust and confidence.

Most people in business and education are using e-mail as a form of communication. Just as you follow certain normative expectations when communicating with different types of individuals in person, you should also do the same when writing. Not following these types of social standards can often lead to miscommunication, resulting in the recipient holding a negative opinion or simply ignoring your e-mail altogether.

Due to the omnipresence of Internet-based communication, e-mail etiquette is one of the most important skills employed in the workplace and businesses today. There are several reasons that employers or experts prefer proper business e-mail communication etiquette. Of these, three seem to stand out as the most important.

Appearing Professional is one of the most important considerations of a company. Proper email etiquette casts a favorable light on employers.
Liability concerns also affect e-mail etiquette.
Effectively Communicatingplays an important role in professional workplaces, as well. If we know the rules of e-mail etiquette and put them to proper use, it will be easier to get our point across.

Although e-mail is best known for informal exchanges and is lighter than other forms of written communications, it is more frequently used now for business correspondences. Chiefly because, e-mail facilitates a casual handling of even a serious business topic which in other forms of correspondence, say, a letter or memo would appear bleak.

The workplace is a professional environment. When businesses have competent employees who perform well and are able to communicate effectively via email, they gain an edge over their competitors.

Relationships could be fostered or damaged more quickly through the use of e-mail than by any other form of written material. This puts the e-mail user on the vigilant side about the content handled. It loads new responsibilities in terms of consideration and civility.

Generally, applying powerful and informed business email protocol and etiquette, directly and indirectly, enhances your company’s bottom-line.
In the next Edition, I will highlight the 10 core Rules of Netiquette (Email Protocol) that you may apply to get the best use of an email for your business.

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