Email Etiquette

Writing an email is meant to be simple and straightforward; a quick way to confirm information or gather information.  Below I’ve listed some Dos and some, please Don’ts.

Let’s start with the Subject Line…

If you’re wondering why your emails aren’t getting read or the reason for the delayed responses maybe it’s because your subject line isn’t clear. The purpose of the subject is to provide information to the reader on what the email is about.

Example: You’re sending an email that requires action from the reader which subject line would be the best option?


2. Action Required: Updates from Team Meeting

If you guessed “b” then you’re correct!  Option “a” is too vague and not clear. Option “b” provides details to the recipient that there’s an action required and shares what it’s about.  Having a descriptive subject line will also come in handy if you ever have to search for this email at a later date.

Email Content

The goal for email content is to be short and straight to the point.  So let’s review the issues with the tone, length and content and the do’s and don’ts.

Ok; so now I’ve opened the email to realize you’ve written a novel/short story. Lol; yes this is an issue as the email is too long!  If your email is 3+ paragraphs long, you may want to consider making a phone call instead.  With long emails making a phone call is a quick way to confirm information.

  The other issue with email content is when it’s not clear.  If the recipient has to send you a follow-up email to answer your original email then maybe you didn’t provide enough information or your message wasn’t clear.  So before you send the email re-read it and see if you can answer the question you’re asking with the information you’re providing.

The last issue is the mean email aka “nastygram.” Yes; I’ve received a few nastygrams or better known as the mood busters.  Have you ever been in a good mood and received a nastygram from someone who isn’t having a great day and decided to release their frustrations through an email of all things.  So here’s my tip, if you don’t want to be the recipient of the email your sending, then DON’T send it.  Also, do I need to say social media, screenshot, copy, paste, post??? So let’s all be professionals at all times.

Reply All

Lastly, the reply all; should you reply all or not?  I’m sure we’ve all been cc’d on emails that maybe weren’t necessary, so let’s discuss when you should reply all and when it’s ok to remove recipients.   The question you want to ask yourself before you hit reply all or before you send an email with multiple recipients is

1. Why am I including everyone on this email? 

2. Is this information relevant to all recipients?

Reviewing these two questions before you hit send, will help with deciding who’s necessary to be on the email and who can be removed.  So the key is before you hit send make sure you’re sending it the right recipients who may need to know and or provide feedback to your email.  

So the takeaway is to make sure you re-read all emails before you send to review the subject line, content, and recipients.