12 Basic Email Etiquette Rules

The following is a basic list of email etiquette. A virtual world is not permission to throw out proper form and etiquette.

Respond to all Questions or Concerns:

If you receive an email with three questions please take the time to address all questions in your response. The person on the other end does not know that you are pondering. Not responding simply looks like neglect.

Lay off the ALL CAPS:

THIS IS NOT FUN TO READ IT IS? DO YOU FEEL LIKE I AM YELLING AT YOU? All caps should be used sparingly if at all.

Be Thankful:

End your email with “Thanks” or “Thank you” when in doubt of how to close. It is always nice to thank someone for their time and their response.

Short and Sweet:

Emails are not a novel. I have over 200 emails in my inbox currently. If I get an email from someone that is longer than a few paragraphs I pretty much save it for later if I get to it at all. Keep it short, it shows you respect the recipient’s time. Do not mistake a short email for a curt attitude as it is simply someone following this rule.

Simple Subjects:

Your subject should not be over exaggerated, comical, creative, or in all caps. If you are sending a personal email do what you want but a professional email must be just that; professional. State your subject simply. Also, do not use “Re:” in a subject to get attention. We all know that “Re” will garner attention since it seems as if it is email the recipient actually wants. Yet, when the recipient opens it and realizes the “Re” is false it makes you look desperate.

Spell and Grammar Check before Sending:

Yes, your grammar school days will haunt you even into the world of emailing. The virtual world is not void of spelling and grammar. Please show some respect for yourself, the recipient and the English language by checking your email for errors before sending.

Acknowledge Received Mail:

It is expected that you send a polite email back stating you received an email.

Forward Real Content:

Do not forward chain mail or hoaxes to your business contacts. I will bet the farm that your friends would rather you did not forward that junk to them as well.

Unnecessary attachments are unnecessary:

Do not send large attachments or unnecessary attachments without permission.

Delivery and Receipt Requests are a No-No:

Delivery and Receipt Requests are just plain tacky. Enough said on that subject.

Keep the Message Thread:

Keep the message thread. Keep it. No, do not start a new email or delete the message thread. It is not messy it is essential. Keeping the message thread will alleviate confusion, misunderstandings and keep record of your correspondence.

Swift as a Bunny:

The person on the other end does not know you have a headache or just cannot miss the second season of The Office so reply quickly to emails. In a competitive world you need to hang onto your customers. A sure fire way to lose a customer is to ignore his email for a few days or a week. If you are out of the office or on vacation use an autoresponder and provide another person to help.

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About Richele McFarlin

Richele is a Christian homeschooling mom to four children, writer and business owner. Her collegiate background is in educational psychology. Although it never prepared her for playing Candyland, grading science, chasing a toddler, doing laundry and making dinner at the same time.