Email Etiquette Tips

January 26, 2017 at 12:00 PM

Email Etiquette

1. Write every email assuming that anyone could read it.

As soon as you hit "Send", who sees your email is no longer in your control. Make sure you're comfortable sharing what you've written.

2. Don't write too much.

People aren't interested in reading pages and pages of elegant prose. They want you to get to the point.

3. Don't write too little.

One word answers like "Yes" or "No" get your message across, but they come off as cold and insulting. Overly short responses make the reader feel like they've wasted your time.

4. Don't CC a person's manager unless you have to.

Unless you've been instructed to do so, CCing a manager just isn't cool. It immediately creates an adversarial dynamic between you and the recipient.

5. It's almost never a good idea to BCC.

BCC is useful when you're emailing a big group and there's no need for the recipients to see each other's contact information. No other scenario warrants use of this feature.

6. Always include a concise and descriptive subject line.

A rambling or vague subject line is an immediate turn off to readers. Keep it clear and short. Your readers will appreciate it.

7. Don't send emails when you're feeling emotional.

In the heat of the moment, we all make poor decisions. When it comes to professional emails, it's best to wait until you have a clear head.

8. Reply to emails within a reasonable amount of time.

Anything beyond 24 hours is not okay. Your coworkers are depending on you and you shouldn't leave them hanging. If you can't fully address what was sent to you, send a quick response letting the sender know you're plate is full and that you'll respond as soon as possible.

9. Pay close attention to the tone of your email.

Emails tend to come off far more hostile than we mean them to be. It's important to maintain a calm tone so that readers actually pay attention to the content of your message. Any trace of hostile undertones will cause your readers to ignore your message and focus on the perceived slights.

10. Suggest a phone call if it makes sense.

Email is a great communication medium for work, but sometimes a simple phone call does the job better. If a topic of discussion is complicated enough, email correspondence can get very time consuming. It's better to save everyone's time and discuss things over the phone or in person.