10 Essential Email Etiquette Tips You Can't Afford To Ignore

Ever wonder why people don’t respond to your emails or why others might appear testy in their responses? If people often ignore your missives, you may need to examine the way you are communicating via email — perhaps the most important communication tool in business today. Related: Follow Up Tips: What To Do When Your E-mail Goes Unanswered Certainly, you’ve heard the disaster stories — the trouble that comes back to bite people who, in a snit, have committed words to email they would probably never speak aloud. These messages can get you in hot water in the boardroom as well as the courtroom. Not to mention the Twittersphere, if you’re unlucky enough to have an embarrassing gaffe go viral. But putting aside the outrageous cases — Here are 10 essential email etiquette tips:

1. Keep It Brief

No one likes to read on and on to get to the point. State your message concisely and simply. If you have a question, get to it quickly.

2. Use The Subject Line

Alert your recipient to what your email is about or you risk being ignored or relegated to the read-later (or never) list. Avoid using alert words, like Urgent, unless the matter really requires urgent attention or you become the boy who cried wolf.

3. Keep Them Few And Targeted

If you blanket someone’s inbox, you’ll soon be ignored. Save up several little matters to send in one email. On the other hand, if you have a matter that needs immediate attention, don’t bury it inside a laundry list of insignificant issues.

4. Be Punctilious, Not Slapdash

Edit your emails as if they were formal letters. Omit slang and overly familiar language.

5. Watch The Punctuation

Don’t use all caps for emphasis. Use 12 point type and proper punctuation, meaning capitalize the first letter of each sentence and use a period at the end. Then, proofread. (And please don’t use a ridiculous font.)

6. Consider Your CCs And BCCs

Don’t copy people on your email unless they need to see the message. And don’t forget to use the BCC field, particularly for emails sent to large groups. People don’t want their emails shared so widely. Hide the recipients’ addresses in the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) Field.

7. Think Before Hitting 'Reply All'

Sometimes people are copied on emails out of courtesy, but individual replies don’t need to be copied to everyone. It’s a rookie mistake.

8. Omit Any Silliness: No Emoticons!

If you’re trying to be funny, stop; business emails are not the place for this. Your recipients, frankly, may be in no mood for lightness and mirth.

9. Watch Your Tone

Without the benefit of facial expressions or body language, words are easily misinterpreted. So, keep your sentences simple and declarative. Keep the message focused and don’t go off on tangents.

10. My Personal Pet Peeve

Never add a link without indicating what it is — not in an age of über vigilance over suspicious links that threaten to take us to where thieves lay in wait to steal our identities. Not only should you not send an unidentified link — never open one either. This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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E-mail Etiquette Matters During Your Career Search Improving Communication In The Workplace Why Communication Skills Matter For Young Professionals

About the author

Ready to make your dream of becoming an entrepreneur come true? Get your free evaluation today! Contact Dan Citrenbaum to help you create the career you’ve always wanted. As a business coach, Dan brings years of experience helping people select and buy a franchise or existing business. You can reach Dan at dcitrenbaum@gmail.com or at (484) 278-5489.   Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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