Archive Post: This post has been updated from it’s original publication on 6/30/16
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…
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?”
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 email@example.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!
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!