Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A special guest posting from John Daly

We are delighted to have a special guest, John Daly, president of Key Class as a guest blog author. His website will be found at:

John is also active in a number of etiquette-related groups. Welcome John!


Most people are unaware that they might be sabotaging their career success with poor email etiquette. All technology aside, people do business with those they trust. Building trust depends upon consistently making a good impression through personal interactions, phone, texting, email and social media. Today, let’s focus on email.
If you’re communicating with family and friends, your email style should be informal, as if you were having a casual conversation. On the other hand, formality is the rule of thumb for business and professional emails. You only have one chance to make a first, great impression, so your email must send your “intended message.”
As the song from the iconic television series Mash conveys, “Suicide is easy.” It’s particularly easy to commit professional suicide by email! Here’s how to avoid it:
• Use a targeted subject line.
If you’re like me, you get hundreds of daily emails, and the subject line might be the deciding factor to open it or not. For example, use “Here is the quote you request for the Porsche presentation,” instead of “Here it is.”
• Make reading your email as easy as possible.
When you can, use bullet points and subheads to separate different sections of your message.
• Try to keep the email less than 25 lines.
Use short paragraphs and only address one topic per email.
• Don’t create an email with multiple topics.
It’s much too frustrating to respond to three or four topics within an email.
• Use bold formatting to highlight the most important points in your message, such as the first sentence of each paragraph or first point in your bulleted list, as I have done here.
• Proofread your work before you hit the send button.
Do not rely on spell check.
• Do not use emoticons, graphic or colored backgrounds in a business email.
• Avoid using acronyms like BTW (by the way) or LOL (laughing out loud). These should be limited to informal emails to family and friends.
• Edit the subject line when replying. The nature of the email may have a different context.
• Always use a proper salutation. This can be “Dear Mr. Daly,” “Dear John,” or “Hi, John” if you are on a first-name basis. Don’t be informal and use a first-name with someone you have never met.
• Use a formal closing.
“Sincerely” is a good formal closing. Acceptable semi-formal closings include: “Best regards” or “warm regards.” Your signature should include how to contact you. If you want to include a one-line marketing phrase, you may do so. An example might be: “How 21st Century Manners make a difference.” But don’t make it a brochure!
• Don’t send negative emails.
Always try to be positive and create the impression that you are a problem solver, not a problem maker!
• Avoid using the “reply all” feature.
This generally causes more harm than good!
• Use the out-of-office message.
Don’t forget to turn it off when you return though. If you are unable to return emails while you are away, this will help others understand why you are not responding to them.
• Don’t use all caps in an email.
This is the equivalent to yelling at someone!

John Daly, president of The Key Class, is an internationally-renowned event producer who spent 40 years working with the top Fortune 50 companies designing events and educating them on proper protocol and business etiquette. He was dubbed "the Guru of Special Events" by Special Events magazine more than 20 years ago.

In 2010, John founded The Key Class, an organization that teaches business etiquette and life skills to high school and college students, as well as to returning veterans, to give them the competitive edge to obtaining jobs, advance in a career or gain college entrance. He currently resides in Santa Barbara, California