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Why should we be concerned about cultural differences when we write a business e-mail?

Cultural Differences In Business E-Mail

Tim Burress (E-mail Etiquette and Organization Specialist) gives expert video advice on: What is the general business e-mail style in German and Swiss cultures?; What is the general business e-mail style among people in the Gen X?; What is the general business e-mail style among baby boomers? and more...

Why should we be concerned about cultural differences when we write a business e-mail?

Its important to be aware of cultural differences and communicating with different cultures and different generations across business e-mail, because people e-mail differently, depending on their generation. Generation X compared to baby-boomers, and then compared to different cultures, all e-mail in different ways. Business e-mail etiquette changes when it's Europeans versus Asians, versus Americans.

What is the general e-mail style in today's business world?

Generally most email is sent in sort of a warm greeting up front style. This can include just "Ben" to start rather than "Dear Ben", and then into the message. Some people don't even have a closure at the end, they'll just sign their name or they'll just even put an abbreviation, such as "T" for Tim or Tom. This is the general e-mail style in today's business world.

What is the general business e-mail style of the people in the US?

The general business e-mail style of people in the US is that the Americans tend to be verbose. Americans have really moved the conversation onwards compared to some other cultures, such as Asian cultures, eastern Europeans and so forth. Indeed sometimes the way Americans communicate in e-mails is a bit long winded.

What is the general business e-mail style in Asian cultures?

The general business e-mail style in the Asian culture is more of a formal greeting in an e-mail. They may type an e-mail addressed "Dear Mr Sono" instead of just "Ben" to show the respect to that individual in an e-mail. This is different to those in the United States, as they tend to be a little bit more informal, so their general business e-mail style might say just "Ben".

What is the general business e-mail style in German and Swiss cultures?

The general business e-mail style of German and Swiss cultures tends to be brief, so their general business e-mail style may be interpreted by their American counterparts as rude, but in fact that's just the way that they communicate. They're very short, concise and to the point in their general business e-mail style.

What is the general business e-mail style of Canadians?

Certain cultures do have a tendency to communicate one general way or another. Thus sometimes we will hear that Canadians are very short and brief in their general business e-mail style and communication, maybe like the Swiss and the Germans. But we must remember that different communication techniques really do depend on the individual and the culture, and of course on the generation within that culture.

What is the general business e-mail style among people in the Gen X?

Generation X is a younger generation that is familiar and comfortable with text messaging. So you're going to see a lot more of the abbreviations and acronyms in their general business e-mail style, and so there won't be as much of a formal greeting. Generation X may not even use the person's name up front in their general e-mail style, they may just use an initial "T" or "B" to signal that person's name. And with their closure, there might not even be a closure, because they're just more comfortable operating in a more informal communication within their business e-mail.

What is the general business e-mail style among baby boomers?

It's very easy to tell an age of the sender by their general business e-mail style. For example, a baby boomer in their greeting, is usually more formal. Because they were traditionally brought up on a typewriter, where you used to type "Dear Mr. So-and-So", you'll see a greeting that incorporates "Dear Ben". Also, in the message itself, they tend to be a bit more formal and structured in their wording and their vocabulary. And then the baby boomer generation's closure is usually something like "Respectfully" or "Sincerely", and they'll sign and type their name out at the end within their general business e-mail style.