Etiquette is an imperative part of professionalism and societal acceptance. Since dance is in a creative, artistic field, etiquette is occasionally undervalued and overlooked. From table manners to introductions to appropriate use of technology, etiquette knowledge and implementation will undoubtedly heighten our industrial standards. If we embrace common etiquette standards, our behavior will influence our students, creating a more polite, professional environment for everyone.

As Dale Carnegie said:

“There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.”

Throughout the coming months, we will feature several etiquette based topics. Today’s topic will highlight email etiquette, but, first, it is important to understand the origin of etiquette. For a fun, whimsical explanation, check out this video produced by the Emily Post Institute entitled Etiquette & The Story of King Louis XIV.

Now, on to the topic of email etiquette. Whether you love or hate email , it is here to stay, and it is important to embrace common courtesies when utilizing email as a tool of communication, especially when your email is representing you and your business.

Here are some tips for common email etiquette:

1. Respond Promptly When people are reaching out to you to communicate, it is your responsibility to guarantee a prompt, articulate response. This is a direct reflection of your level of customer service and professionalism and should be taken very seriously. Yesterday, one of my friends, Michael Roderick, shared an article he wrote in 2009 about how email compares to air hockey. Read it here for some email answering tips.

2. Be Polite in Your Articulation. When composing an email, keep the following in mind: use common courtesies to initiate and sign your emails, do not use text and chat lingo, and do not use the caps lock option. Additionally, always make sure that you utilize spell check and avoid the use of emoticons in professional emails.

3. Know the Purpose of the Cc: and Bcc: feature. When emailing a group of people, know the appropriate use of the Cc: and Bcc: feature. Cc: stands for carbon copy, meaning that everyone emailed can see the email addresses of all of the recipients. Bcc: stands for blind carbon copy, meaning you can email a group of recipients without enabling the recipients to view others’ emailed (and their email addresses). If you are emailing a group of people that do not know each other or do not have conversational relation, you should ALWAYS use the Bcc: feature.

4. Be Aware of the Reply-All Feature. When you are Cc’d on emails, be cautious of inappropriately clicking ‘reply-all’. I was once dealing with a major company in the dance industry, and several editors were Cc’d on an email. One of the editors replied-all with a very inappropriate, unprofessional comment, and it completely and immediately altered my view of this company. The company took no action regarding the comment, which further influenced my opinion. Use caution when using ‘reply-all’, and if something goes awry, take a step to make it right.

5. Keep in Mind Email is Permanent. Email is wonderful because it provides a trail of communication, confirmations, etc. Just make sure you are using it for the right reasons, and keep in mind that everything sent via email is track-able and permanent. Additionally, make sure your emails are concise and relevant. You do not want to ‘spam’ your clients with unnecessary amounts of irrelevant information, or they will disengage from your updates.

At the studio, several clients have walked through our door and said, “thank you for responding to my email.” It is baffling that businesses would overlook or neglect to respond to prospective clientele. Dance Execs, we must value our professionalism and continue raising the standards within the industry. After all, professionalism, etiquette, and common courtesies will always be fashionable, in style, and appreciated.

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