3 Do’s and Don’ts of Email Etiquette

McKinsey reports that workers spend 28% of their workweek reading and answering emails. As speed becomes more crucial and we do our best to work faster – it’s important to remember some of the social rules of email etiquette.

Email marketing can be an extremely effective tactic if done properly and professionally. Take a couple minutes to run through this quick refresher on the Dos and Don’ts of email etiquette.

DOs

Have a Clear Subject Line

For many people, it’s not uncommon to receive hundreds of emails into their inbox every day. With this in mind, the clearer your subject line, the more likely your message will be read. For example, if you’re sending a proposal to someone, be specific about what’s in it for your reader with a something like “Sherpa Proposal Is Attached”.

Reply to All Emails

For each legitimate email addressed to you, provide a polite and timely reply to each. Even if you don’t have the correct answer at the moment, take a moment to write a quick response letting the sender know you received their email, and are working to find an answer. Bonus points if you inform your recipient when they can expect a follow-up. It can be helpful to develop a message template for quick responses when you know you won’t have time to follow up until later.

If an email was wrongfully sent to you, politely respond informing the sender they have sent the email to the wrong recipient as well. Be careful with ‘Reply All’ too, since you might respond to individuals who should not see a certain reply.

Proofread Your Message

One of the most essentials DOs. If your email is filled with misspelled words and grammatical errors, don’t be surprised if you’re judged and labeled as sloppy, careless, or uneducated. Many people associate spelling or grammar mistakes in emails with scam artists – not exactly the kind of reputation you want. Always do a proofread or two, and if you’re still having trouble, try a free app, such as Grammarly.

DON’Ts

Use Humour

Considering that most communication is non-verbal, it’s always tough to judge humour in an email. Although it might be tempting, save the humour or sarcasm for later. If you’re in doubt, leave it out.

Shoot From The Lip

Although you might be angry or in a poor mood, always give your message some thought before sending it. Giving a quick or flippant response while in a poor mood can ruin a relationship. Remember, your recipient is always reading into your messages and may interpret something as simple as a missing period as an expression of irritation. If you feel angry, leave your message in your ‘drafts’ folder, and review it later when you’re feeling more positive.

Overuse Exclamation Points or Abbreviations

Exclamation points, abbreviations, emoticons, all capitals, should never be overused or potentially used in the first place. There will be exceptions in some cases, though always think twice about whether what you’re sending is professional or not. All-caps, as a rule, is always a “no” unless you are very familiar and friendly with the recipient. Otherwise, you’ll come off like a loose cannon.

If you’d like to see a few more Dos and Don’ts, check out the full list over at Entrepreneur.

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