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10 Golden Email Etiquette Rules for Work Emails

As a professional, you may end up spending  a significant number of work hours reading and responding to work emails from co-workers and team members – 28% to be specific.

During this time, you need to interact with co-workers, solve queries, and maintain work continuity. There are endless discussions that happen through emails. Isn’t it?

In order to make a positive impact on the team, you'll need to be an effective communicator and develop a strong work ethic.

However, despite so much interaction over the email, we fail to follow proper email etiquettes. A lot of professionals still end up making grave email blunders. They sometimes make mistakes that have serious repercussions. To avoid these errors, wrong abbreviations, and poor grammar, here are some important tips for you.

To help you perfect your professional email etiquette, we've created a list of 10 super-important email etiquette rules. Whether you're just entering the professional world or already making your way up the career graph, it is imperative to build these essential email etiquettes.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in and explore.

10 Business Email Etiquette Rules

It isn’t uncommon to have your hands full at work, especially when there are multiple responsibilities to tend to. Having the right email etiquette would help you avoid errors and communicate the right information in the right manner.

Here are some email etiquette tips that you should follow:

  1. Eye-Catching Subject Line

The first and most important email etiquette is to avoid vague subject lines. That’s the foremost thing that your viewers see, and they don’t want to be flooded with subject lines that give a vague representation of what’s in the email content.

No one is asking you to get creative with the email subject line for a work email - that’s not even possible most of the time. But, the least you can do is reveal what is in the email by providing an intelligible subject line.

Further, don’t exhibit friendliness while writing the subject line or the content. Being overly casual or friendly  in professional emails can send across a negative impression

Don’t Use: Here’s Why You Should Check The Document

Use: Some Details Are Missing From the Report. Please Modify.

  1. Proper Opening Sentence

Your opening lines are as important as the subject line. You can’t be informal here.

Hence, words like Yo, Hey Guys, Hi Fellas, etc. are off-limits.

Simply write Hi Team and start. Using hey is a bit informal and so is guys. You should always start your email with Hello, [Name] or something similar.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t address people with short names if you’re not sure whether they’re comfortable with it.. So, ‘Hey, Anastasia’ can’t become ‘Hey, Ann’, if Anastasia isn’t comfortable being called Ann’

Whilst you focus on starting properly, make sure to end properly as well.. Make sure to add the sign-off at the end. The email should contain who is signing the email. This should be a proper name, such as John. You can’t sign-off as @Johnny or @Chesslover.

  1. Simple Language

Ideally, and this goes without saying, your email should be as simple as possible. Even if you have a good vocabulary and an amazing grasp  of the language, most of your users might not understand big words, complex idioms, or jargon..

Strictly adhere to writing to-the-point emails. In the office, no one has the time to decode complex messaging.

Here are the things to follow to avoid making your email extremely complex:

  • Don’t write in CAPs. It could seem like you’re unnecessarily overemphasizing. Maybe it’s just the psychological impact of CAPs, but it is real. Hence, even spam filters would take out emails containing all CAPS.
  • Include proper details at the end of the email to allow your users to reach out to you. This should be in simple language, and should include your name company’s name, and phone number.
  • Use standard font sizes and types. Don’t get creative with fonts when it’s about professional email etiquettes. Just ensure that your font is readable.
  • Avoid too many exclamations. It can make the content extremely informal when used inappropriately. You can utilize one, or a maximum of two, exclamations in an email, only when necessary.
  • Eliminate humor in your tone when writing an email at work. That’s an important email etiquette tip. You can sink the ship with this behavior. Use humor only with people you know well.
  1. Avoid Auto-Responders

Auto-responders are great when you are on vacation and don’t want to be bothered by emails. But, having auto-responders all the time is not a good idea.

For example, instead of sending an automated email which says, “I have received your email. I’ll get back to you soon,” you can directly get back to them soon.

  1. Use Professional Email

If you work with a company, it is necessary to always use the email address of the office for this purpose. You should not send emails from personal email IDs unless absolutely urgent. Even when you do that, your email ID should look professional.

For example, you can’t use an email ID like for sending emails.

  1. Avoid Follow-Ups

Another great tip for email etiquette is to avoid following-up too often. If you've sent an email and the receiver is not responding, the next step should be to call, not email again. This can help you avoid delays.

If you are in the sales profession and a user isn’t responding even after 2-3 emails, you need to drop the conversation to avoid ending up in the spam box.

  1. Proofread

One of the crucial office email etiquette mistakes that you can make is missing out on the proofreading part. This aspect doesn’t go unnoticed, and can spark a few negative impressions about you.

If you’re in a hurry and need to immediately send an email, you can check it later and apologize if there’s an error.

In all the other situations, it is necessary to double-check and eliminate errors from your email content.

  • Spell check
  • Grammar check
  • Punctuation check
  • Recipient check

With this, you need to check and proofread the recipient too. You don’t want to end up sending an email to the wrong person. This would put your information at stake. One easy way to follow this writing etiquette is to add an email address in the end.

  1. Understand Diversity

Miscommunication is not uncommon in any manner. If you don’t consider cultural differences, then you can sometimes send a wrong or offensive message, which might offend your receivers.

Therefore, tailor your messages to account for the cultural diversity at your workplace. Always try to formulate your messages in a manner that avoids hurting anyone’s sentiments.

  • Avoid religion-based messages
  • Avoid racism
  • Avoid discrimination against women
  • Avoid other types of discrimination
  1. Check Your Tone

It is best to interact at work formally. This is the perfect email etiquette advice that we can offer. Just by using a formal and simple tone, you can avoid many issues, such as building a bad impression for instance.

This includes using the name and salutation of your contacts when you reach out to them for the first time. Additionally, it won’t hurt to add, “I hope you are doing well.”

However, you should consider the purpose first, as it will help you interact with the recipient in the right manner.

  1. Respond to Every Message

Whether you like it or not, you should reply to emails. For example, if a user accidentally sends an email, respond and tell them that they just reached out to the wrong person. This is an important part of inculcating good email etiquette. It might not be necessary, but it’s definitely good to have.

Email Etiquettes Rules For Work Emails: Things You Should Avoid

There are a set of things that you should follow for business email etiquettes, and a set of things that you should avoid too. Here’s a list of things to avoid in order to maintain the right email etiquette at work.

  1. Mass Responses

While sending out bulk emails, CC is not the right route. A lot of professionals send CC emails to a lot of people, which reveals the identity of everyone on the list. Further, when you use the “reply all” option, the conversation often becomes disoriented.

Hence, an essential email etiquette tip is to think where your messages are going. Then, take a calculative decision.

For example, if you are sending an email to a team of 5, then CC is okay. But, when you send it to 20 people who don’t know each other, CC is not okay.

  1. Reply All

Similar to CC, hitting the reply all option is an equally troublesome situation. Think about it - you are in an email conversation with 20 people. If one person keeps sending a reply all email, you are trapped in a conversation which is not really related to you.

For example, you’ve marked another person in the conversation to continue the interaction. But the receiver keeps marking you through the reply all option! Isn’t that irritating?

  1. Mistaking Private and Confidential Emails

It is necessary to understand that emails are not confidential. Whether it is about sharing confidential information or writing something that you don’t want to share publicly, you need to stay careful with emails.

  • Avoid emails that have private information.
  • Avoid sending large uncompressed files. It is  not secure and uncomfortable to download.
  1. Inappropriately Responding

Sending an email when you are angry is not the right choice. It is the worst email etiquette.

When you’re angry, you can say things that might harm your position and taint your image at your workplace.

Therefore, take some time, calm down, and then send the email.  

  1. Stalling from the point

Don’t stall from the point. It is necessary to understand this basic email etiquette. As a professional, you want quick information and fast results. When someone writes 2 paragraphs before getting to the point, the audience might lose interest. The point of discussion may get lost completely.

Therefore, talk about the topic of interest as quickly as you can. Simply discuss what you are trying to convey in a concise and clear manner.

How to write the perfect email?

Writing a perfect email is not a herculean task. You just need to check the above email etiquette tips, pick the ones where you are lacking, and start improving. It is simple!

Just some mindful changes while writing an email can help you write an informational and valuable email.

If you still face issues after following the above basic email etiquettes, you can receive career advice from us.

Are you hunting for the ideal professional opportunity? These 12 Job Interview Tips will help you get the job you want.

Want to kickstart your technical interview prep? Sign-up for our webinar today!

Last updated on: 
October 27, 2023

Vartika Rai

Product Manager at Interview Kickstart | Ex-Microsoft | IIIT Hyderabad | ML/Data Science Enthusiast. Working with industry experts to help working professionals successfully prepare and ace interviews at FAANG+ and top tech companies

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