Email Etiquette

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify good email etiquette

Since email is such an important business communication tool, it’s important to learn and practice good email etiquette.

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Good email etiquette includes the following:

  • Include a meaningful subject line. This will encourage recipients to open the message and can help them find the email again later. If you leave the subject line blank, most email clients will deliver it to the recipient saying “(no subject)” and some will display an email warning when you try to send it asking if you are sure you want to send an email without a subject.
  • Include the appropriate email recipients. It is best to not send messages to recipients who do not need to receive it to avoid confusion and wasting others’ time.
  • Keep your message clear and concise. Even though there is not a word limit or character limit on emails, it’s best to keep your message concise. Sometimes it takes longer to write a clear, concise message, but it’s worth it to improve communication.
  • Use proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation improve readability and will help your recipients understand your message and respond appropriately.
  • Use a tone that is friendly and professional. Although your emails should be professional, they can also be friendly and sound like they were sent by a human, not a robot.
  • Change the subject line if changing topics when replying to an email. Again, a meaningful subject line will encourage recipients to read the message and help them find it later.
  • Do not use “Reply All” unless it is crucial that everyone on the email receive the reply.

Here are some additional tips to help you avoid making mistakes when using email:

  • Add the email recipients last. This will help you avoid the mistake of sending the email before you are finished drafting it.
  • Double check that you have the proper attachments if you say you are attaching something. Some people like to add attachments first before composing the message to make sure they don’t forget. Some email clients may also display a popup message asking if you’ve forgotten to attach an item.
  • If you cannot describe the message in a few short paragraphs, consider asking for a phone call or meeting with the person.
  • Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes. After you’ve finished drafting your email, do a final check and read through the message as though you were the recipient. This can help you to make sure that the subject line is properly descriptive, the message is clear and appropriate, you have attached any necessary attachments, and you are sending the message to the appropriate person.