If you were looking for a common denominator between every employee in every office anywhere it would have to be email. Most people start and end their work day off by checking their inbox, and they check it at least once more during the day.
But, despite this huge number of email hours there are still professionals who don’t use email appropriately.
13 essential email etiquette rules:
1. Always use your company email address when using email to correspond for work. It is never appropriate to use a private email address for professional email.
2. Address your contact formally, especially if you don’t know them personally, and make sure to spell their name correctly. Don’t shorten their name, (ie. don’t call Steven Steve, unless you’re sure that they prefer this). And, even though email is an informal way of corresponding, use a professional salutation. You are still in a workplace and writing “hey” in a professional email just doesn’t cut it. Start off with “Hello,” or “Hi Steven.” And end your emails with “Thank you,” “Sincerely,” “Best regards”
3. Be direct and clear in your subject line – your reader’s inbox is probably flooded with emails so get to the point and let them know that your email is important and should be opened.
4. Introduce yourself. If you have met the receiver but you’re not sure that they will remember you give them a short reminder before you begin.
5. Respond within a day. Email is immediate, so it is important to respond within an appropriate amount of time. If you don’t have an answer to their request and it will take a little longer to get back to the writer with the info they need, let them know so they know you’ve seen their email and that you are not ignoring it.
6. Keep your emails short and to the point. Make it easy for the receiver to read. And always use classic fonts in black.
7. Don’t use email for any last minute arrangements – for example change of meeting venue, cancellation of lunch meeting or to break bad news. First of all, an email may not be seen on time and second it is just not good etiquette. Sometimes it’s best to pick up the phone.
8. Don’t write anything that you wouldn’t want anyone other than the recipient to see. Don’t write anything that may harm yourself or anyone else, because it is very easy for an email to fall into the hands of others and once it’s written down it is there forever. And, never write an email while you are angry.
9. Keep Slang, CAP LOCKS and too many exclamation marks (!!!) out of your professional emails. The same goes for humor, unless you are familiar with the recipient.
10. Proofread before sending. Nothing shouts out “unprofessional” louder than an email full of errors. Double check spelling, grammar, capitalization and punctuation and make sure your message is comprehensible.
11. Don’t forget to add your contact information to the email – best if it is in a professional email signature including your name, title, company and phone number.
12. Don’t be that guy! Always only send an email to the people who absolutely have to read it, here is the rule:
Reply All: use when the conversation is important to everyone in the thread.
CC: use to include people on a need-to-know basis.
BCC: use when you’re emailing a large list to keep email addresses private.
13. Make a habit to add the email address last. You don’t want to accidentally press send before you’re finished writing and proofing your email.