Emily LaRusch, Founding Bettie, Back Office Betties
My number one tip is to format an email like a letter. It should have a greeting, body and a signature. Anything less can appear sloppy and unprofessional.
Patricia Simpson, Director, Academic Advising and Career Counseling & Placement, School of Chemical Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Re-read your message before sending it… spell check doesn’t catch everything!
Jenni Harris, Regional Industry Manager, Southeast, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina
A business associate told me a number of years ago that I should always reply to emails within 24 hours, no matter what. Even if I don’t know the answer to a question posed in the email, even if I am in the midst of a project deadline, it is most courteous and respected that a simple response to say that I received their email and am (searching for an answer for you/in the midst of a project deadline); however, I will respond in greater depth as soon as possible.
This does two things. First, it lets the client/customer/sender know that they are important to me and that I am not ignoring them by not responding until days later. Second, it gives me extra time to find any information being requested.
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Monica Friel, Chief Executive Organizer, Chaos to Order
I have to say that my favorite email etiquette tip is to be very judicious when hitting “Reply All”. In business, it is common practice to copy all and reply all on every email thus cluttering up everyone’s inbox. Be selective about what you send and say so as to not waste time and productivity.
5. Katie Alteri, Content Marketing Coordinator, Fora Financial
When it comes to emails, less is more! Stray away from wordy emails, as they may overwhelm your readers. Try to write content that is clear and concise, so that your intended message is received.
Michael Clark CFP(r), Certified Financial Planner ™, Keiron
I recommend always adding a greeting followed by their name to the email: Good morning Jacqueline, Good afternoon Jacqueline, Good evening Jacqueline. It adds personality to a communication medium that can often lack emotion.
Inserting the person’s name can add character and people always enjoy hearing their own name.
Veronique Deblois, Food Blogger, Food and Wine Chickie
Seems absolutely basic but including a relevant email subject line is critical. With the number of emails we receive each day, being able to decipher quickly which emails are pressing is key.
Tyler Stuckey, Copywriter & Media Planner, Ainsley Shea
Our company has a regimented protocol when it comes to email subject lines. The format is always client followed by deliverable or subject followed by version of the document. Additionally, if the document attached to the email is in need of copy-editing or proofing, that is included as well. It ends up looking something like this:
Email Subject Line:
This not only leaves zero room for confusion, but also makes it a breeze to find certain emails very easily.
9. Never, ever say anything negative in your emails about a person that you wouldn’t say directly to their face.
Meghan Ely, Principal, OFD Consulting
Prior to opening my marketing firm, I worked in events at a local hotel. I oversaw hundreds of events a year, so you can imagine how many emails would go back and forth during the day. Additionally, I corresponded with other departments at the hotel that would be involved with my events.
I distinctly remember one time when a colleague replied off of a private correspondence between she and I and she copied the client. If you scrolled down far enough, you would see that I made a negative remark about the client. It wasn’t anything quite too terrible and could easily be missed but it humbled me pretty quickly. So moving forward (even years later!), I never say anything in an email that I wouldn’t say to a room full of people (and most importantly, to any person or company written about in an email).
Kathy Wertheim, CFRE, Werth-It
If it’s an email to someone I don’t know, I might use their name and mine in the subject line, to let them know it’s meant for them and not spam. So I might use To Fred from Kathy Wertheim. Yes, it’s possible to do that in mass emails, but I do feel that it makes a difference in getting people to open my emails.
11. Give the recipient multiple options when setting up a meeting to cut down on the back and forth.
Crystal L. Bailey, Director, The Etiquette Institute of Washington
My goal when setting up times for calls and meetings is to keep down on the back and forth. By offering concrete time windows, I find that I’m often able to narrow down a time in 1-2 emails instead of 5-6.
Dawn C. Reid, M.S., Ph.D. Candidate, Relationship Success Expert & Dharma Life Coach Reid Ready Life Coaching, LLC
Do not use text abbreviations. This might work when posting on FB or Twitter, but in a business email, you should always spell out all terms.
Carol Kaemmerer, Executive LinkedIn Coach, Kaemmerer Group LLC
My favorite business email tip is frequent use of BCC (blind carbon copy). For example, if I want to send an article to several unrelated people, there is no need for them to know who else is receiving it. It seems more personal if the recipient’s name is the only one that appears than if 20 people are shown in the To list. Also, if you’re sending something to unrelated people, it is considered impolite to disclose their email address to people they don’t know.
Of course there are times when it is important to show that you’ve emailed everyone within a work group or team, so use of the bcc is not appropriate in every instance.
MattGambino, Matt Gambino Speaking & Training
Always begin a business email message with the phrase, The purpose of this email is…. You are governing yourself from making smalltalk and getting to the heart of the matter.
Jennifer Martin, Business Consultant & Work/ Life Balance Expert, Zest Business Consulting
ALWAYS include your contact information in your signature! This includes your full name, company name, e-mail AND telephone number. Make it as easy as possible for your contacts to reach you now or down the road when they are trying to connect.
Morgan O’Mara, Digital Marketing Content Coordinator, Shred Nations
My favorite business email etiquette tip is to always include a greeting. This may be something as simple as Good Morning, or How are you?, but by personalizing the message it seems friendlier and makes you seem more approachable and trustworthy.
Dr. Melissa Gratias, Vice President, Sandler Training
Too often, the purpose or intended outcome of an email is unclear. To ensure that someone receiving my email knows exactly what to do, I put the words Action Requested: in bold and follow that with, you guessed it, the action I am requesting the reader to perform. It catches the eye, keeps me from copying people who have no actions to perform, and generates results, and not just replies to my emails.
Action Requested: Let me know if you’d like to discuss further. My contact information is below.
Marina Byezhanova, Cofounder, Pronexia
After meeting a prospective or an existing client, I send them a thank you email before I even leave the parking lot! Thanks to modern day technology, I no longer have to wait to get back to the office where I am bound to get distracted with other priorities. I also want to beat them to the punch to show appreciation for their time. When my contacts receive my brief, yet impressively prompt note thanking them for their time and alluding to a couple of points we touched on during our discussion, they are impressed every single time. I encourage you to try it and you will reap immediate benefits!
Tom Casano, Life Coach Spotter
I keep my emails short. No one really wants to read a 500 word email, or even a 200 word email. People are busy, so I keep my messages short and sweet. I sum it up in a few a sentences so people don’t feel bogged down reading my email. That helps to keep things quick and easy for both me and the correspondent.
20. Treat your email as a public statement– don’t say anything on email that you wouldn’t say in public.
Dennis Slabaugh, Founder and CEO, TheGraduateJobs
Never include anything in a business email that you would not post on your front door of your office or your home! Keep it professional.
Tracy Gold, Co-founder, Sounding Sea Writers’ Workshop
When I write business emails, I always try to make it clear what the next step is for all recipients. That cuts down on unnecessary (and annoying) back and forth.
Jeff Standard, Cofounder, Drivemode
I have 2 business email tips to share with you which I’ve used to greatly increase response rates from my colleagues at Drivemode and throughout my career at other companies.
- In the first sentence of my email I always try to answer the so what?In the case of this email, I clearly outlined exactly what content you can expect so you can judge within 5 seconds whether this email is relevant and important to you. I put myself in the shoes of my recipient and think Jeff just sent me this email, so what?. I then craft my email to deliver the exact content they’re looking for.This next tip is a bit counterintuitive at first but bear with me.
- Before starting my email, I think of reasons why I shouldn’t use email to communicate.Everyone gets too many emails, which is really shame given all of the other great communication mediums available today. In many cases I find more rich communication tools, such as a quick Google Hangout or a chat message, can move things forward much more efficiently for both parties. I reserve email for situations where I’d like the recipient to digest the content before responding or for content that is much more self-explanatory. Email is becoming old school as tools are built to enable much more rapid, rich communication than ever before.
Mark Grimm, Speaker, Coach or Media Strategist
Try to start out by thanking them, even for complaints (i.e. Thanks for taking the time to share your concern with us).
Keeon Rudder, Author of The Job Interview Simplified & Founder, Von Elijah Fitness
Use a different closing each and every time an email is sent to depict creativity and humility. The following are a few closing options:
- Kindest regards,
- Most grateful,
- Greatly appreciative,
- With utmost appreciation,
- Sincerely thankful,
- Most Humbled,
- Many thanks,
- Kindly thankful,
- Most obliged,
- God bless,
Mel LLeras, Owner/Structural Designer, HoneyLove Architecture & Gardening
One of my top rules: Never insult anybody in an email. Not competitors, not vendors that didn’t live up to your expectations, and certainly not the recipient of the email.
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