Email Etiquette

An email is not just an email, an email is a piece of writing that is a representation of yourself. With each word you type the sender is able to pick up what they believe you to be like, how they think you work, and they have put together a picture you. Their perception is probably completely wrong IF you haven’t taken the time to address your audience appropriately or if you don’t know how to address them appropriately.


Start from the top..

  1. If you have more than one email account setup on your email make sure that you are sending your email from the appropriate email account
  2. TO. Choose the correct people to send your message to
    1. Do not over add. There are people that need to have your message and there are people that it becomes going over and beyond and unnecessary
    2. Understanding is if someone is in the TO line they are expected to respond.
  3. CC. Copy anyone into the CC line that the information is a need to know or a nice to know but may not need to respond. More just wanting to keep them up to date.
    1. Some bosses would like to be copied on emails just to be kept in the loop and some people like to include themselves on the email so they have a record of sending the email in their inbox rather than in their sent box
  4. BC. Blind copy people that you don’t want others to know have received a copy of the email.
    1. Most people will use this when reprimanding staff and they want their boss to see that they have handled the situation or addressed the issue
    2. If their is a problem with another area of the company sometimes others who are involved can be added as informational but not able to address the group
    3. Do not over use blind copying people, most things don’t need to be a secret so don’t make them a secret.
  5. Subject. This is the first line that people will see when receiving your email so make sure it is a very short and quick summary of the issue or topic
    1. Try not to make it a novel
    2. Try to help tie it into an ongoing issue, if applicable
      1. This helps when people are going back and searching for a specific topic
    3. Don’t spell out the story in the subject, leave a little bit of mystery
    4. Make your subject something that people will want to open and read
      1. If your subject draws them in they are less likely to put you at the bottom of the stack
  6. Greeting. Know who you are emailing and salute them correctly.
    1. If you are just “meeting” them be more formal
    2. If you have an ongoing and casual relationship you can probably get away with a HEY
    3. A member of senior management stick to more professional
    4. You can always be safe with sticking in the middle with a Good Morning or Good Afternoon. This is clean and polite.
  7. Body of your message. Clear and to the point.
    1. Do not just keep talking to talk
    2. Stick to the points
    3. If you are explaining something that can be visualized add some visualization
    4. Do not ramble. People do not want to sit and read an email that is a novel in length when it really only needed to be a short story
    5. If delivering bad news try and spin it into a positive view instead of taking the whole situation as a negative.
      1. There is always a small silver lining, you just have to be willing and open to seeing it
  8. Closing. You want to end the message respecting their time, thanking them for reading your email, and hoping to continue business with them.
    1. Thank them. Thank them. Thank them.
      1. Self explanatory!
    2. Keep the door open for questions or comments
      1. This shows people you are a two way street and you are more than happy to help them out if they return the favor.
    3. Compliment them. Some people may want to hear how good they are or their business is so if it feels right throw in a compliment and you never know good things could come from those few words.
    4. Give your full name.
      1. If you are more casual in your relationship with someone it may be fine to close the email with a “J” or “Jane” but there is no harm in saying your full name.
        1. If someone was to forward the email they may not have that relationship with you
      2. Set up a signature
        1. A signature can be set to automatically add to every email so you won’t need to put forth any additional effort to close your email

When you are writing an email always remember that you never know whose computer your email will land on. In all of our industries messages get passed from person to person to help get the word spread or knowledge passed along to others. When you are sitting and typing those messages try and remember that because it could make a difference on how your message is perceived.

Your words and your typing is a direct reflection of yourself so make it count.



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