Writing emails is one of the most convenient and effective ways of communicating what we want to say to other businesses and/or people. Whether it’s that new job you’re trying to get or you enjoy keeping in touch with someone via email, email can oftentimes be the best way to communicate back and forth together.
We’re here to make sure you don’t commit any email blunders the next time you hit that send button. While there are a lot of things that you should do when sending an email, there are more things that you shouldn’t do. We’ll cover all the bases when using proper email etiquette to make sure that your next email sounds as professional as possible. Without further delay, here are the top 25 etiquette rules for sending an email.
1. Professional Sounding Name
This is the most basic of all email etiquette. Before a business even reads your job application or email that you send them, the first thing that they’re going to see will be the name of your email address. I remember when one of my army buddies was helping me apply for a job and when he read my email address, he said “Really? Inkyblinky777@gmail.com? You have to change your email address! No one is going to take you seriously if you have an email address like that.” At first, I didn’t think anything of it but after careful consideration, I decided he was right and I changed it to something much more professional sounding.
2. A Friendly Greeting and Ending
Friendly talk is good but not too friendly. Don’t start messages off with “Yo” or “Hey”. Showing some respect will go a long way. Use their name or surname and always make sure you spell it correctly. Having a friendly introduction along with closing will help you look more prestigious to your colleagues.
3. Responding Appropriately
If a certain email upsets you or makes you mad then take a minute to step away and let cooler heads prevail. Deciding to react out of anger will never end well for any of the parties involved.
4. Clients Aren’t Friends
This should go without saying, don’t forward clients anything that you would want to send a friend or coworker, this includes: poems, jokes, chain letters, or anything else that isn’t business-related. Doing this will leave a sour taste in their mouth and you can easily lose business that way.
5. Always Proofread
If you want to send a coherent professional email. Double-check your work and make sure everything is correct. A great tool to help you write error-free emails is Grammarly, check this out!
6. Using Reply All
Using reply all is a surefire way to get people upset if they didn’t need to hear about the conversation. Make sure to only use the reply all button when everyone should be updated in the response.
7. Use BCC
If you want to inform multiple people of something without having their names show up in the recipient bar, then make sure to put their name in the blind carbon copy (BCC) field.
8. Recipient Field
When you want a response from someone you should use the “To” field and that will let them know that you want a response from them. Otherwise just CC (carbon copy) anyone you want to keep up to date on the information being transferred.
9. Don’t Include Everyone
The fewer people that you include in your email the better. When more people are involved it leads to a higher chance of confusion. Try to limit the email to only people that need to respond and anyone that has to be in the know.
The “Subject” Field
10. Subject Line
Should be concise, clear, and to the point. Don’t give vague descriptions when typing in the subject line. Typing subjects like “File included” does nobody any good. Be specific, that way, when someone searches for your subject they can know exactly what file you’re trying to convey to them.
11. Keep it Short
There’s no reason to write a whole paragraph or short sentence in the “Subject” field. Too much detail in this field makes your email appear sloppy and unprofessional. Give as much detail as possible without going into too much detail.
12. Not Using a Subject Line
I’m sure we’ve all been accidentally guilty of this once or twice in our lives, but this is something that should be avoided at all costs. This is a great way to piss off your coworkers and frustrate them. No one likes receiving a perplexing email with nothing in the subject line.
13. Timely Response
You should always respond to emails as soon as you realistically can. No one enjoys feeling like they’re being ignored. You should never wait any longer than a day to respond to someone.
14. Thoughtful Response
Have you ever put a lot of effort into what you write and spent a lot of time thinking of what to say only to have a response that’s less than five words long? It can be somewhat disheartening to receive a message that looks like they barely took into consideration what you said and gave you a vague, thoughtless answer.
If you’re rushed for time and know you’ll need some more time to think about a reply, don’t shoot a brief, careless answer in response. Tell them you’ve read the email and you’ll need some time to think about it and you’ll get back to them as soon as possible.
15. Email Body
This is where you’re going to send the meat and potatoes of the email. Anything pertinent and relevant to the conversation should be included here. Make sure to always use proper grammar, punctuation, capitalization, as well as sentence structure. Whenever you write an email, always keep to the subject of the title. Whenever writing anything professional try to have a formatted structure that looks proficient.
16. State What You Want
Don’t write an email that makes the person who reads it wondering what exactly it is you want from them. State what you need in the simplest way possible. If you’re looking for someone’s opinion, let that person know. If you’re giving someone a file that they need, don’t just send them the file without any other information, let them know in the body of the email that you’ve sent them the file as requested and include any other applicable information.
17. Don’t Need Anything?
If you’re just providing the recipient with an update and you don’t need them to take any actionable steps, or you don’t need a response from them, let them know that as well. Always be informative and concise with what you do or don’t need.
18. Use Appropriate Colors & Fonts
This should be a no brainer. Don’t use fonts (or different font sizes) that are hard to read and don’t use a bunch of different colored texts when sending an email. Keep things simple and clear.
19. Never Use All Caps
Want someone to think you’re angrily yelling at them? Writing in all caps when sending an email is the equivalence of yelling at someone in the email world. Unless you want an angry coworker coming to your desk asking why you’re so mad at them, don’t do it.
20. Don’t Use !!!
While it’s tempting to put as much emotion and emphasis into a sentence, it’s best to keep things basic. One exclamation point is all you need unless you want people to think you have poor communication skills.
21. Use Bullet Points
Whenever you have a list that you want to describe to someone, make sure to make it easy for them to read by either using bullet points or a numbered list when appropriate. Trying to decipher words in a poorly formatted email just leads to frustration and displeasure.
22. Avoid Profanity
While it may have been cool to swear in school, avoid doing so in your work environment. Not only does it show you have a limited vocabulary, but your peers will also perceive you poorly.
23. Using Attachments
Make sure when you send an attachment that it’s necessary. If hardly any words are in the document that you’re attaching then it’s best to just type that information out in the email itself. Only send the attachment that the other person needs. It can be extremely irritating to receive multiple attachments when there’s only one that has the information you need on it.
24. Zip Big Files
If you have a large file (or multiple files) to attach, compress it into a ZIP file so you can save time and hassle whenever transferring data.
25. Attach First & Write Later
Here’s a good habit to get into. Attach your file to the email before you write the email. That will help you save face and prevent you from sending the awful “Whoops, I forgot to send the attachment!” follow-up email.
Communicating with people, no matter what form of communication you’re using is important. Pay close attention to what you say and how you say it. If we’re careless with how we talk to people and how we write to someone, it can make them have a bad impression on us. Going the extra step, being proper, and showing that you care when sending emails will help you stand out in the workplace and make you look more professional.
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