E-mail etiquette is something that has been on my mind a lot lately…
…oh the things we think about when #adulting…
I decided I needed to do a quick PSA about e-mail 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:
I’ve totally thought about sleuthy plans to break into my bosses office and delete the e-mail’s too… whether it’s because I sounded dumb, forgot something, or wrote something full of typos and emoji’s, I’ve probably made every e-mail mistake in the book!
So a Quick E-mail etiquette PSA:
1. Proofread your e-mail, 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. Be clear, concise, and thorough. Nothing drives me crazier when I get a really generic e-mail 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 e-mailing 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. Make sure you have a signature. Nothing bothers me more when I can’t easily stalk you on your social media platforms or find your phone number for a quick question. 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 whole time.
4. If you are emailing a bunch of people, use BCC. Who here loves getting an e-mail with 50 people CC’ed and getting every single 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. 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!
6. 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 e-mails if I am the one sending the e-mail (In point #4, I hate it when I get those and I’m CC’ed). – But people have a lot of issues with e-mail being marked as spam (I’ve been one of them countless times because I use a masked dummy gmail), 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.
7. 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 e-mails. When I was in the corporate world especially. I would even send them to my fiancee (screenshotted or copy and pasted into a text, never via company email!) to read it before sending to ensure I am being as diplomatic, professional, and polished as possible. This practice of proofreading one another’s emails has actually been really insightful and helpful. 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 e-mail buddy or two? Just remember…
8. Don’t send stuff you don’t want seen or read via company e-mail! They own that ish! Seriously, your company is probably not reading every e-mail you send, but for safety sake, get into the mindset that they have an elf in the basement reading every e-mail waiting to tattle to master if you mess up (Yeah, I really just combined DJ Khaled and Harry Potter references in the same point… #WINNING!)
9. Choose an accurate subject life. If you are pitching someone, make it intriguing so they want to open it, if you are 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?”
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. Set up a vacation auto-responder. If you are going away for more than 2 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.
What are your email pet peeves or e-mail tips? Let me know in the comments!
Now that you’ve nailed e-mail etiquette, grab the guide to crafting your perfect 30-second elevator pitch!