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Email Etiquette Tips

In the business world, crafting a well-executed and thoughtful email is both a useful and valuable skill. It’s estimated that “the average professional spends 28% of the work day reading and answering email” with spending so much time on email, it can be tempting to quickly respond to a message without rereading your response. One must remember that when reading emails, the recipient doesn’t know the tone of your voice, so what you might think is just a straightforward answer, can come across as passive-aggressive or rude to others. So next time before pressing send ask yourself if your email etiquette needs some work. These tips are a great place to start…


Spell Check

When writing to someone new, make SURE you spell their name correctly. Starting off the email with their name misspelled will set a negative tone for your correspondence moving forward. So once you’ve ensured their name is spelled correctly, you also want to make sure you don’t have typos in the email. One easy tool is Grammarly which is a typing assistant that reviews spelling, grammar, punctuation, clarity, and more. They have both free and paid services depending on the level of assistance you need; using the free service to quickly check your work, especially if it’s an important email, is a smart way to improve your writing.



A well-executed email is easy to read and straightforward. If you have a lot of important information that needs to be addressed, bullet points and bolded words are your friends. If you write a novel, most aren’t going to read it thoroughly, and the questions you need help with may go unanswered. Be clear and concise and make your formatting work for you.


Maybe Don’t Email

Email is great for many uses, however, sometimes things need to be addressed with a phone call or video chat. If you’re addressing something nuanced or something that needs a personal tone attached to the message pick up the phone. You don’t want to spend the afternoon going back and forth with emails when a simple phone call would have solved your issue in a manner of minutes.


When Emotional, Pause

We’ve all been there. Receiving emails that push your buttons, hit a nerve, or are just straight rude and unprofessional. It can be so tempting to fire back with an angry or defensive email. Don’t do that. Instead, take some time to regroup, gather your thoughts, and brainstorm how you can respond calmly and professionally. You’re not able to take back an email (well other than instantly recalling the message but we all know that doesn’t always work). You’re much better off taking a step back, and even asking someone you trust for advice on how to handle the situation and come back to responding once you’re clear-headed and refreshed.


Be Cautious About Humor

Unless you know the recipient well and understand their sense of humor, forgo trying to be funny in your emails. Humor can easily be lost in translation when it’s not tied to your facial expressions or tone. When in doubt, leave it out.