5 Email Etiquette Guidelines

5 Email Etiquette Guidelines


Most of your office’s communication is likely by email — it’s fast, more convenient and it provides a written record of conversations that can be referenced later.


However, the fast-paced nature of email makes it easy to take for granted. If you aren’t paying attention to what you write and how you write it, your emails may be leading to more miscommunication than actual communication.


To send out emails that will be better understood and simpler to respond to, follow these five email etiquette guidelines:


  1. Be mindful of who you “CC” into an email conversation. Only include those who are directly involved or affected in the “CC” box, so you don’t needlessly fill up other people’s inboxes. It can also seem threatening if you “CC” someone’s boss in an email with a complaint about the person in the “To” box.


  2. Don’t use ALL CAPS. In the online world, using all capital letters means you’re shouting. If there is a reprimand as a part of the email, it will come across as irritable shouting. To emphasize a word or phrase, try bolding or italicizing instead.


  3. Be concise and use bullet points. Checking email is already a time-consuming task, so get to the point quickly when you write one. You’ll increase the likelihood that the recipient understands what you’re saying and actually reads your entire email. If you feel the need to write several paragraphs, it might be easier to just chat on the phone or in person. If you have a few questions that need answered or several points to get across, use bullet points to make it simple and quick to read.


  4. Stick to one subject per email. When you are working on multiple projects, it can be confusing for a recipient to respond to questions about more than one in a single email. The recipient will also take longer to respond to that email, since several projects and references are involved. Keep each email specific to a single topic, and you will be more likely to get the response you need faster.


  5. Write professionally. Follow the rules of writing and grammar by only using a single exclamation point at a time, avoiding the use of “smileys” and staying away from humor (tone doesn’t usually translate well).


Be mindful of how you communicate by email just like you are mindful of how you communicate in person — stay professional and don’t waste time.

 The information provided in this blog is intended for general information purposes only. Readers should seek the help of an HR professional for guidance on specific issues.