Email etiquette is often a commonly overlooked part of the business and professional world despite being an important part of conveying a professional image. When writing to someone at a professional level the following guidelines and rules should be taken into account.
Guidelines and Rules of Email Etiquette
- Use a descriptive subject line, avoid leaving it blank or putting an irrelevant or general subject.
- Address the recipient by name to add a personal touch to your letter.
- DO NOT USE ALL CAPS!
- Avoid over using punctuation marks!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Skip a line when starting a new paragraph, avoid using tabs to signify a new paragraph, different email programs read tabs in different ways.
- If you are sending an attachment, make note of it and describe what the attachment is for in the body, some people are very wary of attachments due to the threat of computer viruses.
- Keep your emails as concise as possible without leaving out any important information.
- Always leave a signature line, don’t assume the person already knows who you are.
- Don’t keep on sending the same message to the same person over and over again, if they don’t respond after a few days, send them an email inquiring if they received your first email.
- Use spell check and proof read and revise your letter after it’s done.
- Use threads, if you get a message from someone and you are going to respond, don’t send a new message, simply hit the reply option on your email, this keeps the original subject line with “Re:” in front of it.
- Remember most emails are never completely private, there is always a chance of someone else besides the intended recipient reading it, so avoid writing any personal attacks which are unprofessional to begin with.
- When reading emails treat them as if they are private messages (unless you know you are allowed to share it with others).
- When you receive a message, send some kind of reply to it within 24 hours if possible. Even if you don’t have time for a full reply, at least acknowledge receipt of the email, and indicate when you will be able to respond. An example, “I will be out of the office the rest of the day, but will get back to you tomorrow.”
Written by: Kathryn M. Drake, CPA