Email Etiquette: 12 Simple Rules
In this day and age, email is perhaps the most important form of business communication. There is very little that you can do without having to receive and send a few emails a day.
Here are 12 rules of email etiquette that you must keep in mind so that your emails are professional and promising –
1. Have a clear and direct subject line: Leaving the subject line blank is not an option. You may think that the subject is not as important as the actual email, but the truth is that it is sometimes more important than that. Many people decide whether or not to open the email based on the subject line. Think of 2-5 words that sum up exactly what your email is about and use that as the subject.
2. Use a professional email ID: Once you enter the workforce, let go of that quirky and fun email ID of yours. For official purposes, at least, create an email ID that contains your name and sounds professional.
3. Respond promptly: If someone sends you an email, it’s likely that they’re awaiting a response. If there is something that the email asks you to do, do it as soon as you can. If it will take longer, you must let the person know. It’s also good to acknowledge an email—let the person know that you’ve received it, even if it has been addressed to a group of people.
4. Send emails within business hours: It is most annoying to continue to receive emails well beyond business hours. Avoid sending emails late into the night or early in the morning. Unless it is very urgent, try sending out and responding to emails within business hours.
5. Keep the email to the point: No one wants to read through a long and windy email to figure out what you’re trying to say. Make sure you know exactly what you want to say to the person before you begin typing the email. Then say exactly that in as simple and precise manner as you can.
6. Edit the email: It’s likely to contain spelling errors, factual errors, and more. It may also be that you have misspelt the recipient’s name or typed something in a hurry that you didn’t intend to include in the email. You must read through the email carefully before pressing the send button.
7. Sign off with “Thanks”: Sometimes it’s difficult to determine the appropriate way to end an email. If you’re unsure of how to sign off, just saying “thanks” often works well. It is both kind and formal and saves the email from an abrupt end.
8. Type in the recipient’s email address last: You may often begin the email by first typing in the recipient’s email address. It’s best to save that bit for the last in case you accidentally press the send button without having completed the email!
9. Address the recipient formally: As far as official emails go, it is ideal to stick to “Dr.”, “Mr.”, “Ms.”, etc., or full name, to address your recipient. However, if this person has expressed the desire to be addressed by first name, then you could address him/her likewise.
10. Don’t overload the email with attachments: Send attachments only if you have been asked to or if it is required for a purpose. However, if you find that there is a lot of material to be attached to the email, make sure to check with the person beforehand. You don’t want to clog another person’s inbox with heavy files. Another option would be to compress files before attaching them.
11. Don’t continue replying to old emails: If the subject of discussion in the email has changed, then start a new email with a new subject. If you reach out to a person by simply replying to an email that they sent you a long time ago (with a completely unrelated subject), it reflects poorly on your sense of email judgment.
12. Use “cc:” with discretion: Not everyone needs to know of your communication with another person all the time. Think twice before marking copies to people and hitting “reply to all”. Unless absolutely necessary, you don’t want to flood people’s inbox with emails they have no use for.
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