While no, there’s not a set handbook for proper email etiquette, it should go without saying that when emailing, you should use best practices and clear and concise language. We all know the cringy feeling when we see a hard-to-follow email come through our inbox and either mark it unread and save for later or completely disregard it. It’s fair to say we all have our personal pet peeves when it comes to e-conversation. To use an exclamation point or not? Is signing off with “Best” cliché or perfectly normal? (Spoiler: it’s perfectly normal, don’t overthink it lol.)
We tapped the Poosh team to share their biggest pet peeves and ways to effectively and efficiently send emails. Keep reading to see our email etiquette pointers.
Reply all—nothing worse than having to keep adding team members back in because the person keeps responding just to you. The reply all exception? When a companywide email goes out, there’s absolutely no need to reply all then.
Proofread email as much as possible before sending it. Tip: try to add the recipients last to make sure you don’t accidentally send it to the wrong person or send before you’ve reread the message. You can use the free Grammarly extension, which proofs emails and gives suggestions on grammar.
Confirm receipt when an important email is sent to you. It’s simple and lets the sender know you’re either working on the request or have read it.
When including images, attach them rather than uploading them to the body of an email. If you include them in the body, the receiver will have to annoyingly scroll and look at massive images instead of simply being able to download all images from attachments.
When you forward an email, loop in the person instead of just forwarding. This will save time so the recipient can quickly reply and not have to copy and paste the email address.
Get all your thoughts and notes in one email instead of sending multiple emails in a row like you would a text message. Emails should be concise and easy to follow. Who wants to read through them piecemeal? That’s the easiest way to cause confusion and a headache for your team members.
Subject lines: make them clear and try to avoid responding on a thread that has nothing to do with the subject of the email. Pretty simple—update the subject to reflect the content of the email if it’s sent from an old chain. Or start a new chain … who has time to look through 100 responses?
If a conversation takes more than 10 messages, typically that means it’s time for a phone call to efficiently hash out the details instead of going back and forth with no resolution.
Greet and sign off your ‘mails. Always double check you’re spelling the recipient’s name correctly. So awk when someone misspells right off the bat, and even worse when they continue to.
When you’re scheduling times for calls, suggest the time slots in the person’s timezone (you can use this app to quickly “translate” zones). Once everyone agrees on a time, sign off the email by saying something like “calendar invite to follow” so everyone knows it’s coming and they don’t waste time adding to their calendar.
Tread lightly on exclamation points—you don’t want to seem overzealous. Of course, there are always exceptions, but it’s something to keep in mind. Also, all CAPS typically reads like you’re yelling at someone through your inbox.
Keep it all on email over moving conversations to text. For members within the team, sure, there are always exceptions, but if it’s a client or external contact, email is the most professional.
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