Did you know the second week in June is National Email Week? That means today marks the first day of this year’s National Email Week. A recent study found emails continue to be the most pervasive form of communication in the United States with over 108.7 billion emails sent and received per day. Yet, most of us still make basic email etiquette mistakes. Today’s article will provide you with eight easy to execute email etiquette tips to help boost your email productivity.
1) Pay Attention To Emails You Receive
One of the easiest ways to figure out exactly how to write and send emails is to pay close attention to how you respond to emails you’ve received. How do you feel when you open an email? What makes you want to reply? What gets under your skin? Most of us can quickly answer these questions. Yet, we are all guilty of making the exact email etiquette mistakes that drive us crazy.
2) Keep it Brief and To-the-Point
With so many emails being sent and received daily it’s wise to keep yours short and to-the-point. Avoid sending verbose emails. Make it easy for recipients to quickly scan your correspondence and know exactly why you’re reaching out. If you have a lot to say or feel the need to go into great detail it’s probably better to request a phone or face-to-face meeting.
3) Include Clear, Direct Subject Lines
If your goal is for recipients to actually open and read your email, use a clear and direct subject line. Here are a few recommendations:
- Need a document reviewed by a colleague? Try this: “Please review document and provide feedback”
- Did a meeting date or time change? Use something like this: “Important: Meeting date/time changed”
- Have a question? Let them know: “Quick question about today’s conference call”
4) Use Reply All Sparingly
“Reply All” is often misused. When you’ve received an email that was sent to multiple recipients it’s easy to simply click “Reply All” when responding. However, unless each and every recipient needs the information you’re replying with you should not hit “Reply All”. Instead, stop and ask yourself who really needs the details you’re replying with. Then, remove all email addresses of those parties who do not need said information.
5) Salutations Count
The way you address email recipients is important. In today’s rushed and laid-back world we often overlook simple rules of etiquette. If you’re sending an email to a friend it’s okay to start with “Hey Buddy”. But, when sending professional emails always use appropriate salutations like “Hello”, “Hi”, or “Good Afternoon”. When ending your email be sure to include “Thank you” or “Looking forward to your reply”.
6) Spell Check Always!
Whether you’re sending an email from your desktop, tablet or smartphone always double and triple check spelling. Not taking the time to check for spelling errors says a lot about how important the email is to you. Show the recipient of your email you care enough to spell correctly, especially when it comes to their name.
7) Slow Down
We send countless emails each day. Our phones ring, we rush into meetings and have deadlines. This can lead to lots of rushing, especially when it comes to crafting emails. Try slowing down next time you write an email. Make sure you’ve not broken any of the aforementioned etiquette rules, that you’re sending to the correct email address and that you’ve included everything you need to address. It might take a couple more seconds or even minutes but can save you from having to send a follow-up email or crawl under your desk with embarrassment.
8) Reply to Emails You Receive
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Keep this golden rule in mind when receiving emails. Always reply in a timely fashion and follow the rules of email etiquette. If you hope to have people read and respond to emails you’ve sent be sure you do the same.
Looking for more email etiquette advice? Check out The Top 10 Rules of Business Email Etiquette
Originally published Jun 08, 2015, updated Nov 17, 2020