Perfect Email Etiquette: Tips on How to Improve

by Sep 11, 2013

Opening an email can be like opening Pandora’s box. Poor grammar, incorrectly spelled words, and bad taste is all it takes to write a horrid email. Luckily, it’s not hard to have near perfect email etiquette.

Having Perfect Email Etiquette

Briefly introduce yourself. Especially if you are not sure the person receiving the email will know who you are. This is not to say that you need a biography of yourself, but let the intended recipient know who you are and why you are reaching out to them.

Avoid using exclamation points. In a business email, the maximum number of exclamation points you can use is one. Use exclamation points sparingly unless you want to come off as looking unprofessional.

No emoticons, jargon, or slang. When business people use word shortcuts like, “4 u” (“for you”), it has the potential to make you look less than professional. If you wouldn’t write this on a business correspondence, you shouldn’t be doing this in an email as well.

Don’t have a subject line that looks like spam. Avoid having a subject line that are in all caps or all lower case. Putting a URL on the subject headline will make it look like spam.

Watch out for the “reply all” button. Before hitting “reply all,” think about whether it is appropriate for everyone on the e-mail chain to know.

Include a signature. You don’t want someone searching for a way to get in contact with you. This is especially true if your full name isn’t on the company email. Include any social media information (if any are applicable), your full name, and the company.

In the end, your email is a reflection of who you are. If your emails are carelessly written and disorganized, it could be assumed that you, as a person, are careless and disorganized. In the business world, other people’s perception of who you are is related to your success.

Do you know how much money chronically bad behavior costs your company? Spoiler alert – it’s a LOT higher than you want it to be. Download our data and worksheet to see how it’s costing your organization and what you can do to fix it.


About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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