Email Etiquette: 5 Rules to Follow

Photo credit: Julianna Young
Photo credit: Julianna Young

If you do it right, email can be your new best friend and make your life SO much easier. Experts say that your email behavior has the potential to sabotage your reputation both personally and professionally.

I came up with a list of a few mistakes that people tend to make regarding emails, it’s important to be aware of these mistakes and do everything you can to use email to your advantage — and not let it get you into trouble.

1. Summarize it – Being clear and concise in an email is key. Make your most important point first, then provide more details if necessary. If you send a long rambling email, it is much less likely that the respondent will act on what you have sent or even respond.

2. Create a signature – Set up a signature that contains all your contact information. This helps the recipient obtain your contact information easily.

3. Be mindful of your tone – It’s not what you say, but how you say it that really matters. Your tone (whether its urgency, irritation or sarcasm) can be easily misunderstood via email. Keep this in mind and be sure your emails are professional, friendly and clear.

4. Understand the difference between “To” and “CC.” – The people you include in the “To” field should be the people you expect to read and respond to the message. Those included in the“CC” field are the ones who need to know about the email, but don’t necessary need to respond. People you include in the “BCC” field will not be visible to others.

5. Spelling, grammar and punctuation – Email comes with spell-check for a reason, so use it. If you misspell words, use bad grammar or punctuation, it reflects poorly on you and/or your company. It’s also a good idea to re-read your messages before you send them to be sure you are communicating clearly.

Lastly, email is great tool but it doesn’t necessarily work for every situation. There are many things that are appropriate to send via email, but there are also some things that should be discussed in person. If a conflict or difficult situation should arise, it’s always better to talk it out.

If you would like to learn some more tips and tricks on email etiquette, check out this article from INC.com.

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