Do’s & Don’ts Of Email Etiquette

email etiquette for business, email etiquette dos and donts, email etiquette tips for students

 


 

The do’s and don’ts of email etiquette is something that has been on my mind a lot lately…

…oh the things we think about when #adulting… 

Everything from day-to-day emails as well as mistakes made with email lists. I decided I needed to do a quick PSA about email etiquette. It’s one of those things that I really struggled to learn as an early twenty-something, and often found myself crying and screaming:

 

Don’t even get me started on the number of times I thought up sleuth-y schemes to break into my bosses office and delete said emails…?. Whether it’s because I sounded dumb, forgot something, or wrote something full of typos and emoji’s, I’ve probably made every email mistake in the book!

Do’s & Don’ts Of Email Etiquette:

1. Do proofread your email. Please for the love of whatever is holy on this earth! Make sure you’re words are spelled correctly (at least mostly: DAMN YOU AUTOCORRECT!), grammar is on point, and that you included whatever you said you would include (always double-check those attachments!).

2. Do be clear, concise, and thorough. Nothing drives me crazier when I get a really generic email that is super vague and results in us having to go back and forth multiple times to get to the damn point! Whether you are emailing a boss, friends, or trying to pitch someone, please think to yourself “Is this the quickest and clearest way I can get my point across and convey all the relevant and necessary information?” If you can’t quickly give me a “HELL YES!” then don’t hit send!

3. Do make sure you have a signature. I can’t even begin to tell you how much it annoys me when  I can’t easily stalk you on your social media platforms or find your phone number for a quick question. – Side note: on the flip side of including your number in your signature, please don’t be one of those people who asks for a phone number if someone has it in their signature! #SMH – Include your full name, website, relevant social media platforms, phone number, etc. I don’t want to waste my precious time stalking this information out, I will do it… but I will be cursing you the time.

4. Do use BCC if you’re emailing a bunch of people. Who here loves getting an email with 50 people CC’ed and getting each one of them replying with “cool!”, “got it!”, “thanks!”? Not sure who? I’ll tell you: IT’S NO ONE. No one likes their emails clogged with useless or irrelevant emails. So if you are sending a blast out to everyone and they only need to respond to you then please us BCC and leave me and my inbox out of everybody’s replies.

5. Do reply with a courteous “received” or “got it”. Just to double back to #4 where I talk about people responding “cool”, “got it”, or “thanks”…. I actually LOVE receiving these emails if I am the one sending the email. In point #4, I hate it when I get those and I’m CC’ed. But people have a lot of issues with email being marked as spam, so please let me know you received my email! Even if you aren’t responding in full at the time, just say “Great, thanks!” and I won’t keep pestering you.

*Side note: to deal with all those pesky people not confirming receipt, I’ve started using Mailtrack

6.Don’t send stupid chain emails. This isn’t AOL in the 90s or early 00’s. Read the previous statement in #4: Don’t clog people’s emails with useless or irrelevant crap. I don’t care that your first-born will be taken by the cursed angel demon Damian if you don’t send this to five friends, because guess what, if you send me that, we aren’t really friends so you already F*’ed yourself!

7. Do check your emotions. This is one of the toughest for me. I get really passionate when I write sometimes, and will actually have entire written arguments… who’s with me? I need to pause, take a breath, and check my emotions before sending most emails. When I was in the corporate world especially. I would even send them to my fiancée (screen shotted or copy and pasted into a text, never via company email!) to read it before sending. I wanted to make sure I came off as diplomatic, professional, and polished as possible. The practice of proofreading one another’s emails has actually been really insightful in understanding perception. It’s taught us both about how people read tones and how to even clean up the email to be clearer and more concise (See #2). Maybe enlist an email buddy or two? Just remember…

[RELATED] Harmful Communication Tactics To Drop Today

8. Don’t send stuff you don’t want seen or read via company email! They own that ish! Seriously, your company is probably not reading every email you send, but for safety sake, get into the mindset that they have an elf in the basement reading every email waiting to tattle to master if you mess up (Yeah, I really just used Harry Potter to make a point about email etiquette… #WINNING!)

9. Do use an accurate subject line. If you are pitching someone, make it intriguing so they want to open it. If you’re working with someone make sure it’s specific to the conversation. It should be memorable, as in “what keywords would I search if I was trying to find this email?”

Examples:

Good subject line: “NYU Graduate, published author seeking content writer position”

Bad subject line: “Content writer position” (Where’s the intrigue? Why should I open this compared to all the others? How can I easily search this compared to all the others?)

Good subject line: “Summary notes from 6/15 Summit discussion”

Bad subject line: “Notes”

10. Do set up a vacation auto-responder. If you are going away for more than two days, please use a vacation notification. Let me know that you won’t be responding to my emails, rather than me wondering if they are in spam or you’re ignoring me.

Bonus: 11. Do set up an adult email. Alright, this should be obvious, but kittykatgal679@aol.com is probably not a good representation. It’s time to use your name as your email.

What are your email pet peeves or email tips? Let me know in the comments!

[RELATED] 8 Things I Wish I Knew Before Entering The Workforce After College


Do’s & Don’ts of Email Etiquette:

1. Do proofread your email.

2. Do be clear, concise, and thorough.

3. Do make sure you have a signature.

4. Do use BCC if you’re emailing a bunch of people.

5. Do reply with a courteous “received” or “got it”.

6.Don’t send stupid chain emails.

7. Do check your emotions.

8. Don’t send stuff you don’t want seen or read via company email!

9. Do use an accurate subject line.

10. Do set up a vacation auto-responder.

11. Do set up an adult email.


Now that you’ve nailed email etiquette, grab the guide to crafting your perfect 30-second elevator pitch!

 


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  • Greta Hollar

    My big email thing is to respond to all messages in 24 hours. I hate when I send an email and get a response a week or two later! I always try to be considerate when I receive inquiry’s and messages. Great post!

    Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com

    • Totally agree Greta!! I always try to respond within 24 hours, but have definitely been falling short lately lol

  • Tori Moore

    Love these tips!! I can’t STAND when people don’t respond that they’ve read my email! It is one of my absolute pet peeves!

    Tori
    mooretori.com

    • Same!! I feel like a crazy person when debating "is it time to follow up with them to confirm they got my email yet?!?"

  • Gabby & Hannah

    This was such an awesome post and I think that a lot of people don’t have great exposure to having to use e-mail before college and then are just expected to know what’s going on!

    xo, Gabby
    theswirlblog.com

    • Totally agree Gabby! There really should be a class!

  • Gabby & Hannah

    This was such an awesome post and I think that a lot of people don’t have great exposure to having to use e-mail before college and then are just expected to know what’s going on!

    xo, Gabby
    theswirlblog.com

  • Gabby & Hannah

    This was such an awesome post and I think that a lot of people don’t have great exposure to having to use e-mail before college and then are just expected to know what’s going on!

    xo, Gabby
    theswirlblog.com

  • Gabby & Hannah

    This was such an awesome post and I think that a lot of people don’t have great exposure to having to use e-mail before college and then are just expected to know what’s going on!

    xo, Gabby
    theswirlblog.com

  • Audrey Madison Stowe

    great tips!! I think email etiquette is so important to know!

  • Yvanne •

    lmao I’m dying at the sophia gif! It’s like you wrote this post for me! I’ll follow all these from now on.
    xx,
    Yvanne | https://composedcollected.blogspot.com

  • Candice Nikeia

    I hate when people email me without doing BCC. I hate seeing everyones’ emails! Thank you for writing this! It’s so important for everyone to know what to do and not to do when it comes to emailing!

    xoxo, Candice
    http://www.candicenikeia.com

  • Alex Berger

    Proofread YASSSS!!! I have the hardest time coming up with subjects too. So hard!

    • Same! I used to have my fiancee write all my subject lines until I got better at it haha

  • Annaliese Lemieux-Kaplan

    OH my gosh- are people really still sending chain emails in 2016?!?! Haha!! Anyways these are good tips!

    xoxo A
    http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

    • YES GIRL! Mostly Gen X… hopefully they will be a thing of the past soon… although i do notice those terrible facebook chain posts now… #SMH

  • Kayleigh Adam

    Love these tips and tricks! I never thought about the subject line being more of headline!
    http://www.kayleighskloset.com

  • Amy L

    I took a business communications class this summer an we’ve went over a lot of these topics during our class. Subject lines are always super tricky for me! Thanks for sharing these tips !!
    xoxo
    Amy | <a href="http://pastelnpink.com/">Pastel N Pink</a>

    • Thanks for reading Amy! So great that they actually started teaching this in some classes! I was so lost after college. I read through some old e-mail subject lines when I was entering grad school and the corporate world and shudder at myself!

  • angelica gill

    So cool, very nice post, and i learn a lot

    http://www.missydresses.it

  • Michaela Quigley

    Great tips!

  • Pick Your Beau

    This are such great tips for young professionals!

    <a href=“www.pickyourbeau.com">Pick Your Beau</a>

  • Jen Hayes

    Great tips! These are spot on! I especially find it frustrating when employees write emails that read like poorly proofread text messages. An office email should be professional!

    • Haha same Jen! Or the text smiley faces! It feels like my creepy uncle did it or something… just no. lol

  • Amanda Parker

    I really need to brush up on my email etiquette. I find it annoying when I get work emails sent to my personal email address as well. My personal time/email is MY time/space!

  • Miss ALK

    Oh my gosh I hate vague emails! And when brands email me with the wrong name!! Hahaha.

    xoxo A
    http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

  • Trecee Hutchinson

    I definitely cringe a little bit when I see adults with emails like hotgirl1999 or other ridiculous things! It’s looks so much more professional when your email reflects just your name or something like that!
    Great tips!

    Trecee

  • LOL chain emails!!!! I forgot about those! bahaha. Remember when you used to log in and wait patiently for the, “YOU’VE GOT MAIL!” !!! haha.

    P.S. I first email address ever was “Chattergirl@aol.com” Let’s all take a moment and appreciate this. lolololol.

    P.P.S. In all seriousness, this was a great post. I should probably get a better email signature!!

  • I suck so bad at proof reading. I will read something over 100 times and still not catch an obvious error. Great reminders though.

  • Haha Rachel, Your Etiquette #3 is so hilarious? but so true at the same time! Stalking someone on sovial media kist to het their basic contact details a bit tedious!
    These tips are so on point!
    Thanks for sharing them?
    Lindsay | http://www.faithfullyme.co.uk

  • I absolutely love your page! There are so many smart reminders and I actually loved your examples for good and bad subject lines. I’m definitely guilty of being a bit ambiguous with my subject line (probably why I can never find the old emails later on!)

  • Great tips! I have most of my info in my signature but would love to have my photo included too. And I’ll say that re-reading my email drafts has saved me from embarrassment SO many times.

  • Oh man, at my current job there’s tons of people who have no idea how to email. There’s someone who replies to our customers like he was texting. There’s also so many people who don’t read their emails and just click read and we end up getting derailed in our tasks. Also, yes to BCC!

  • Trish

    These are great tips! I send and receive emails all the time with my online business. I especially appreciate your tip about having an email signature. I run into that a lot (having to hunt down who sent the email) and a signature is SO helpful.

  • These are great tips lol Sometimes it alarms me what should be common sense and what isn’t but I think it’s nice to get a reminder every once in a while and I always love finding new tips!

  • another thing I try to avoid is using relative dates (e.g. today, tomorrow, next week) and use absolute dates instead (e.g. July 14th, July 15th, July 21st). or at least pair the two (e.g. “Could you reply by tomorrow, July 15th?”)

    because, y’know, tomorrow never comes!

  • Amanda Faber

    Great post and I always forget to proofread my email. I’m just working too fast!

  • My name is in my email, but it’s one of my biggest pet peeves when people still spell my name wrong!!! Like seriously, it’s in my address AND in my signature!

    Tori

    • RIGHT! Or when they ask for my phone number, it’s in my signature, why are you making me do more work than I need to?!?

  • Talisa – That New Girl

    Co-sign to all of these! Especially acknowledging receipt of an email. Less and less people do that nowadays but it’s so key! And considerate. It’s the simple things!

  • Yes and YES to all of these. If you want to look and sound professional, it’s important to pay attention to all these small details!

  • Neely

    LOL to the adult email thing. I remember thinking “hmmm foxyN4384@yahoo.com sounds really bad when applying for internships,” Ohhhh 2004

  • Thank you for this, really helpful now I see some of my emails were not that great oops for now but dreading it. Thank you once again.

  • Super Millennial

    Love it, the older I get the shorter my emails have gotten. Clear and concise!

    Another great topic that isn’t taught in school lol. Great post!

  • Great tips! Nothing is worse than wishing you delete the email you just sent.

  • Emely Roman

    Omg! This is such a great post. I love your blog. Subscribing right now. I’ve noticed a lot of older people have a problem with some of these. Their “tone”, if you get what I mean.

  • People still sends chain emails? hahaha I remember them. Now I get them from other apps like WhatsApp. I love punctuation. And it annoys me when people just write like it’s one thought! No, we have commas and period for a reason!

  • I will say I take the subject line quite seriously. I’m also the one who is all about making sure everything is very clear and concise! Love these tips you share here, girl!

  • Breanna Manson

    It is honestly my biggest pet peeve when people don’t proofread their emails, or check their spelling. But mostly trying to read some mumble-jumble someone is trying to say is utterly confusing. Always, always proofread twice!;) Thank you for the great post!

  • Rachel Loza

    Yes, yes yes yes yes!!!! PS. I hate the “Reply all” feature sometimes. Back when I worked in a HUGE corporation with tons of DL’s, we would get these random emails, most people would delete. And then you’d get these people that would say “Please remove me from this DL.” and it would go on and on and on and on …. lol WORST

  • Oooh! I remember chain emails. I got my first email address in 1998 and that’s what we all did. Such a funny time hahah! I’m glad those aren’t a thing anymore!

  • Anna Hubbard

    Yes yes yes to all of these! Nothing irritates me more than a bad email!

  • I love this! Just because you aren’t talking in person, you still need to be polite and professionalism.

  • These tips are so great! I especially love the last one. I worked in the Treasurer’s Office for a University and it always made me laugh when we’d see parent emails come in as “yogamom123” or “turtlelova4life”. You have to wonder why sometimes!

    • STOPPP!!!! I feel like parents can slide a little more (although its still super weird) just because they don’t get it at all haha! i would’ve died laughing though

  • You’d be surprised how many people still use an old email address as their “professional” email address, that NEEDS to change!! Also, proofreading your emails is sooo important! You definitely don’t want to send an email with spelling mistakes!

  • Lauren

    This is a great list! SO many emails I get cc’d on with at least 10 other people and it literally drives me CRAZY! Not sure why no-one uses bcc? Anyways, thanks for sharing these tips!!

  • I know I have been guilty of this before too, but I cannot stand it when you have no idea if someone received your email or not. It’s like, are they unaware of what’s going on because they never got an email, or are they just unwilling to answer me”. Rude.

  • Omg these are great! I can handle some proofreading mistakes, but when the WHOLE email is riddled with mistakes it really annoys me lol.

  • One of my huge pet peeves is when people send 20 emails back and forth instead of just picking up the phone. If we’ve exchanged 5 emails on the same topic and something’s not being communicated correctly, please just pick up the phone! I do this all the time at work and in 99% of the cases, a 5 minute call can clear up everything.

  • This is solid advice! I love it a lot! I could use more wisdom in this as I receive and send so many! Thanks!
    xo Debbie | http://www.tothineownstylebetrue.com

  • Laila Cross

    The tip about being concise is so important! I tend to be a little rambly in my emails and generally need to reel it in!

    • thats great insight though!! Honestly, putting in a little upfront time to retrain yourself in being concise will help for your lifetime in cutting out the rambles (I’m rambly too lol)

  • Omg getting CC’d in emails with a ton of responses drives me INSANE! Since I work for my dad (who is NOT tech savvy at all), I get CC’d in literally piece of email he sends, as well as forwarded the responses because “he wants to be sure I got them” lol. So I end up with half a million emails to sort through every day.

  • Awesome tips but I’m also a big stickler for a formal intro! Dear mr. Or ms. So-and-so

  • Yes to all of these! I hate when I get emails with grammatical errors. It drives me nuts.

  • OMG YAS YAS YAS I can’t yaaaas this enough – all so true! The other day I was sent a mass email and everyone sent it was on normal CC – NOT COOL.

    Coming Up Roses

  • YESSSS.
    I learned a lot about email etiquette when I worked for a marketing agency (and was always hyper-paranoid about someone reading people’s TMI emails to me/vise versa).
    These are super great, but I’m honestly so tired of email communications these days! I’m still part of groups that still use the format,
    “Dear _____,
    Blah blah bah…
    Respectfully,
    ____”
    And it makes me crazy! Maybe for the first interaction, but after that, you can quit the formality! I know it’s from you, dude, it’s still the same chain of interaction! Haha maybe that’s just me though ?

    • RIGHT!! I noticed that with a lot of recent grads especially! and lawyers. Like please just call me Rachel and stop with the Dear Ms. blah blah

  • Rimsha

    It’s such a simple thing but something so many of us don’t pay enough attention to. Really useful checklist for sending an email!

  • These are brilliant!! This needs to go viral! I am a firm believer in a courteous reply of ‘got it’ or ‘thanks so much’!

  • OMG one of my favorite things is asking people what their first email address was. What was yours?! I think it’s hilarious how ridiculous some people’s emails were and it’s even worse that some people STILL USE IT. Mine was monkeycrazy015@yahoo.com lolol

  • Kaitlyn Fickle Killebrew

    These are all great emailing tips! People could definitely use a thought out guide like this these days!

  • Elly Leavitt

    YES to proofreading- such a pet peeve of mine when i get emails with very obvious typos. ugh.

  • 4 made me giggle… SO many people do that at work and it is so annoying. You keep getting “pinged” and think something important is happening. But, instead it is a million 1 word answers. Or, someone should just be replying to one person and it sends to the entire group #smh.

  • E-mails are honestly the easiest thing to completely mess up, yet don’t have to be at all!

  • Yes! This is such an important post for everyone to read. I agree with everything you said, word for word! I am also one of those people who like seeing people’s signature lines. They need to have their info there!

  • Nicole Leith

    I was asked to assist giving an e-mail etiquette at work and I think i had all of these on my list. I think the subject line is really important. I have someone who I work with regularly e-mails me from their iPhone like she was texting someone instead of e-mailing. She also doesn’t have a signature line on her iPhone e-mail. It drives me mad when I have to search for her e-mails for a phone number! Thanks for the reminders.

    • Yes! what is that (searching for number)! My favorite happened to me the other day, I literally have my # in my signature, but still included it in the BODY of the email with the time to connect -and they responded with, “so what number should I reach you at?” – are you serious?! it was in the same sentence as the time of the call! #SMH

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