Email Etiquette

There is no doubt that email has greatly improved communication in almost all aspects of our lives. Whether an email is being used for business or personal reasons, it is important to follow some basic email etiquette. Doing so will make your emails easy to read and respond to and will not aggravate the recipient. We’ve outlined 8 basic workplace email etiquette rules below.

  1. Subject line – be sure the subject line accurately reflects the content of your email and try not to use an old email to hit reply and start typing about an entirely new topic. If you do so, it is a good idea to change the subject line to reflect the new message contents.
  2. Addressing your email – address your contact with the appropriate level of formality and make sure you spelled their name correctly. Formality is in place as a courtesy and reflects respect. Assume the highest level of formality with new email contacts until the relationship dictates otherwise. Refrain from getting too informal too soon in your email communications.
  3. Be clear and concise – try not to make an email longer than it needs to be. Add as much detail as the email requires, however, try to avoid long winded situations. There are some instances where just picking up the phone would be a lot easier than typing out a 5 page email. Make it easy on yourself and on the person who is receiving the email.
  4. Answer all questions – be sure you are including all relevant details or information necessary to understand your request or point of view. Generalities can many times cause confusion and unnecessary back and forths.
  5. Spell check and read aloud if necessary – spell check cannot fix grammatical errors. If you are sending an email to someone, it is important to re-read it before hitting send. A friend of mine received an email stating “I look forward to spanking with you again”. Oops. Luckily she has a good sense of humor, but not everyone will. Also, try to avoid using acronyms and short hand. It really is not that hard to type out you instead of “u” or okay instead of “k” and it makes you appear more professional.
  6. Watch who you are replying and sending to – Refrain from using the Reply to All feature to give your opinion to those who may not be interested. In most cases replying to the Sender alone is your best course of action.
  7. Attachments and file size – some email accounts cannot receive an attachment larger than 10MB. Sending a file larger than this can cause it to clog up the recipients email causing subsequent emails to have a delayed receipt or bounce back from that account. When sending a larger attachment, you can “zip” the file to compress it to a smaller size or you can use a 3rd party application to send the file (like dropbox.com or yousendit.com).
  8. Have a signature file – a signature file contains your essential contact information. Make sure you include your name, phone number, website link and company name in your signature file. Use your signature on all new emails and on emails you are responding to.

Implementing these rules will make your emails more professional, efficient and more likely to get read and responded to. When it comes to business, regardless of mode of communication used, professionalism and courtesy never go out of style.

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