Return to Sender: A Guide to Email Etiquette

In the business world whether you are interviewing for a job, trying to climb the corporate ladder or even networking, it is always about the first impression. The same can be said for an email.

When sending a business email to another professional keep in mind this could be the first and last correspondence they have with you. Strive to leave the impression of an educated person who knows what they are talking about. Emails with misspelled words, punctuation and grammar errors do not reflect a positive image. In business you want everything you do and every interaction you have to be perceived as professional. Email communication should be no different.

When writing an email be efficient and courteous, but stay to the point. Long and drawn out emails, especially ones not separated into paragraphs, can be confusing. Stay away from using abbreviations and one-word replies when composing or responding to an email. Email etiquette shows you take pride in your company and that you respect the person with whom you’re communicating.

Follow the guidelines below to ensure your emails convey the proper etiquette:

  1. Keep emails brief and to the point.
  2. Answer all questions and questions you anticipate in the future.
  3. Use proper spelling, grammar and punctuation. Write the email as if it is a business letter.
  4. Address everyone and leave a signature. Your full signature should only be in the first email.
  5. Use templates for frequently asked questions (mainly for customer service).
  6. A response doesn’t need to be immediate, unless specified, but should be addressed within 24 hours.
  7. Don’t attach files that aren’t necessary.
  8. Use proper writing structure.
  9. Do not excessively use the priority buttons.
  10. Do not write in CAPITALS.
  11. Make sure the message thread is visible.
  12. Re-read/Edit before you send the email.
  13. Only use reply to all if everyone previously on the email needs to see your content.
  14. When sending a mass mailing use the bcc: field.
  15. Do not use abbreviations (LOL, BTW, etc.)
  16. Take care with rich text and HTML messages.
  17. Don’t send or forward chain letters
  18. Don’t request delivery and read receipts.
  19. Don’t use email to discuss confidential information.
  20. Use a meaningful subject and if the topic of the email changes, change the subject.
  21. Use active terminology instead of passive.
  22. Only use urgent when necessary.
  23. Don’t send or forward emails containing libelous, defamatory, offensive, racist or obscene remarks
  24. Keep your language gender neutral
  25. Use cc: field sparingly: Try not to use the cc: field unless the recipient in the cc: field knows why they are receiving a copy of the message.



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