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 >  Home   >   E-mail Etiquette
German Business Etiquette in English

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Netiquette, the E-mail Etiquette

- chapter excerpt - 

The fast spread use of e-mail has made communication much easier, especially with overseas business partners and clients. Unfortunately, this form of communication also increases your risk of making written mistakes and e-mail faux pas. For this reason, online etiquette rules (also known as Netiquette) were developed. Here are a few of the most important things you should remember when corresponding through e-mail.

E-mail und die korrekte Anrede?

Business and private life

You should try to adhere to e-mail etiquette rules not only when composing business e-mail, but also when sending e-mail on a personal basis. Even if you have a friendly or casual relationship with colleagues, you should remember that on-the-job correspondence means that an e-mail message is a business letter, which should include salutations, greetings and disclaimers. Only when quickly corresponding back and forth via e-mail, is it acceptable to leave salutations off without showing a lack of respect.

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When composing formal e-mails or sending documents such as legal warnings or final contracts, and especially when sending an e-mail to several people, your grammar must be correct. Typing mistakes do not give the impression that you are extremely busy, but that you are careless, and could be interpreted as impolite. So, be sure to thoroughly read through an e-mail before you send it, and do not hesitate to use your spell and grammar check. When sending personal e-mails, a forgotten salutation, the absence of a signature listing personal details, and even typing errors will be tolerated. If you jumbled the letters in a word because you were typing too fast, don’t worry.

However, if simple grammar errors are made, regardless of the language in which you are corresponding, you may look sloppy, if not incompetent. Worse yet is the incorrect spelling of a person’s or a company’s name. Such an error will simply be interpreted as a lack of concern and interest. For many it has become a sort of hobby to strive for atomization and speed when it comes to using e-mail and the Internet. For this reason, you should always attach an automatic signature, if only to satisfy the requirement of identification when sending or publishing information electronically. In addition to this, a company’s individual data protection laws should be respected and the electronic sending of internal corporate information to external addresses should be avoided.

Addressing e-mail

When starting your letter, the best forms of address are still, “Sehr geehrter Herr...” (“Dear Mr. ... ”), “Sehr geehrte Frau” (“Dear Ms. ... ”) and “Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren” (“Dear Sir or Madam...”) despite the more informal style associated with e-mail correspondence. This rule holds true especially when writing to individuals whom you have not yet met in person. By using a formal manner of address, the recipient will feel honored and respected. Although “Hallo” (“Hello”) is heard and read frequently, this word is too informal and demonstrates poor style even if it is often written out of habit. Having said that, even when writing personal e-mails, a formal address such as “Dear….” (“Liebe / Lieber”) is always a better start ...



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Additional training material

More than Manners
This learning software provides extensive text excerpts from our successful business etiquette book "More than manners".


Keywords: email netiquette, e-mail etiquette in Germany, writing e-mail in German, correct emails, german business culture , german business correspondence etiquette , business etiquette in Germany , business communication germany etiquette, email correct, email etikette


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