The Differences Between Email And Letter Etiquette

Published on 12/02/2020


There are a few different types of written communication, but the two used most commonly by far are letters and emails. 

Of course, emails are far better for the environment, because they don’t need paper and they don’t need to be printed out, however, there are certain situations when a letter is a way to go. 

Is there a different way to write an email versus a letter?

In some ways, yes, but it depends upon the person you’re communicating with and the reason you’re communicating too. Is this someone you know well and you’re simply passing on a useful piece of information? Or, is it a customer or client you’re replying to or inform them of an office or situation?

If you’re speaking to someone you know, you can be a little more casual in your language, however, if you’re speaking to a customer or client, you need to ensure that regardless of whether you use a letter or an email, your language is a little more formal, yet still friendly. 

Check out this infographic which talks about email etiquette in particular. 

Source -

There are a few rules which apply to both letters and emails:

  • Always double check your spelling, grammar and punctuation before sending either a letter or an email 
  • Make sure that the tone of voice you have used is appropriate for the person you’re speaking to and the information you’re conveying
  • Ensure that the format of the written communication is suitable and that it’s not unprofessional in appearance
  • Do not use slang language and instead stick to good quality English, regardless of whether you know the person well or not
  • Don’t add too much word count and make sure that the content is succinct, yet not too short either
  • Read through before sending to check that the letter or email makes perfect sense
  • Ensure that the main point you want to convey is very clear
  • On an email, make sure you have a clear subject line and on a letter, consider adding a reference to give a quick overview of what the letter is about

Sending out substandard written communication reflects badly on the business and it also reflects poorly on you as an employee too. Customers or clients may receive a letter or email and if it’s full of spelling mistakes and it doesn’t make much sense, they’re going to develop a very bad impression. As a result, they might assume that the goods and services you provide are just as unprofessional as the written communication you send out. This could be enough, in some cases, to cause them to switch providers and work with one of your clients, instead of staying with you.

The business world these days is so cutthroat in many ways and that means you have to pay attention to the smallest details. Some people have a huge pet hate for grammar mistakes, whilst others don’t care too much. However, it’s vital that you cover all basics and in this case, certainly go back to the very foundations of what written communication is.

When used correctly, written communication can be very effective indeed. It allows you to inform customers about your marketing campaigns and the goods and services you provide, it allows you to get a message across without having to have a conversation about it and it also gives a positive impression of you as a business, provided you can tick all the boxes in terms of effective written communication itself.

Emails have become a real daily staple for most offices. How many times have you sat at your office desk and checked your inbox, send out a quick email and then gone back to another task? Email allows us to answer quick queries in far less time and it means that we can reach people much faster too - no need for pigeon post!

Despite that, ensuring that you get any type of written communication right is vital if you want your business to continue thriving in a positive way.  

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