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Email Etiquette: 18 Rules to Make the Perfect Impression on Anyone

Have you ever seen how misunderstandings happen over text and other message-based communication platforms? Unfortunately, this tends to happen a lot because you can’t transmit tone over text.

The world of business is also not immune from miscommunication. It would be easier if there were just an email etiquette template to follow, but it’s not that simple. There are a lot of nuances to human communication that you can’t just box into clearly defined categories.


Because of this, it’s important to learn about proper email etiquette. And here’s the thing: you don’t have to be a master conversationalist to do it right. But before looking into the rules, let’s first talk about what it is, to begin with.

email etiquette


What Is Proper Email Etiquette?

Email etiquette pertains to a set of behavior deemed acceptable when sending an email. The biggest misconception that people have is that it only concerns how you “speak” via email. However, it also covers other email standards, such as:


  • Promptness of response to the email sender
  • Maintaining the privacy of the conversation
  • Excluding any attachment that may be deemed unprofessional
  • Addressing all points of conversation mentioned in the email


So, how should an email look? Here’s an example:

email etiquette example


But there’s not necessarily any standard in this regard. Instead of focusing on how something looks, you should instead focus on ensuring you maintain a certain level of professionalism in your correspondence.


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Email Etiquette Tips for Maintaining Good Professional Relations

How you interact with your colleagues, superiors, and everyone else in your network will impact your image. So before you do something that goes strongly against email etiquette rules, let’s talk about the various do’s and don’ts.

Still, it would help if you didn’t consider this a complete and comprehensive list. Some points may not apply to your situation.


Focus on the spirit behind every tip that we’ve included in this list. Browse our list of rules, become a master of email etiquette, and make a great impression every time:


Email Etiquette on Adding Recipients


  • Don’t abuse the ‘reply to all’ feature. When you receive a general announcement through email and have questions, not everyone has to be notified. Using reply to all when not necessary is a bad email etiquette example, as you may be revealing info that’s not relevant to everyone.
  • Complete your message before adding the recipient. You do this to avoid accidentally hitting send in the middle of a sentence.
  • Don’t add recipients without notifying anyone. Sometimes, you need to add a few people in the middle of the email thread because the conversation concerns them as well. If you need to do this, it’s considered good email etiquette for business people to mention that they’re adding someone.


Email Etiquette on the General Tone


  • Keep it conversational. After all, you’re not writing a college essay. Therefore, it’s considered professional emailing etiquette to ensure that your tone is conversational yet respectful.
  • Avoid using emojis. They’re fun for texts and even necessary for certain marketing campaigns, but it’s safer to keep emojis out unless you’re sending an email to a close friend.
  • Keep it brief and clear. Your recipient is probably busy so you don’t want to take up more of their time than necessary. If you’re not sure whether or not you’re doing this right, ask yourself if every word in your email is necessary to your message.


Email Etiquette on Subject Lines


  • Don’t be vague. If you’re a busy executive, how would you feel about a subject line that says “Help”? It doesn’t tell the receiver what the email is all about.
  • Keep the subject line short. Even though there are no professional email guidelines involving how long the subject line should be, you only want to include relevant keywords that hint at the content of the message.
  • Do not leave it blank. Leaving it blank can be misconstrued as being disrespectful. It may send the message that you don’t care enough to put some effort into your message.


Email Etiquette on Email Content


  • Make sure it’s grammatically correct. Something not being grammatically correct isn’t disrespectful, but you also want to put your best foot forward. Especially with how easy it is to run something through Grammarly or any other writing assistant, this is one of the examples of email etiquette you can’t skip.
  • Always use sentence case. Like many people, you’re probably used to your smartphone’s keyboard doing this for you. So, if you’re writing your email from your laptop, be sure to hit that Shift button every once in a while.
  • Use proper punctuation. As emails are considered a little bit more formal, it’s considered good writing email etiquette to use proper punctuation. Avoid using exclamation points unless necessary.


Email Etiquette on Being Respectful


  • Think about the salutations you’re using. You should determine the salutations based on who’s going to receive the email. If it’s a little casual, even Hi or Good morning will work. But if professional email etiquette calls for something a little bit more formal, stick with Dear Mr./Ms. [name].
  • Spell their name correctly. Triple-check it if needed. If you’re not sure, pull up their LinkedIn profile or check their email address, it’s usually there.
  • Introduce yourself. What is email etiquette without it? A quick introduction will also up the odds of them replying to you.


Email Etiquette on Attachments


  • Shorten URLs. Especially if someone is reading their emails from their phone, long URLs can be distracting. So, instead of just pasting a link as is, use a URL shortener beforehand. This way, it takes less space in the email.
  • Inform the recipient of any attachments. This ensures that they don’t overlook them. But if what you sent is important, you want them to acknowledge that they received it as well. That simply won’t be possible if they didn’t know you sent anything in the first place.
  • Avoid sending large attachments. There may be limits on the recipient’s part that you don’t know about. If you need to send a huge file, consider uploading it to cloud storage and sending a link instead.


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Want to Know How to Be Polite in Email? Just Be More Mindful of What You Say and Do!

Except for a few technology-related concerns, there’s no special way to navigate emails. But when in doubt, just review the professional email etiquette examples that we covered in this article.

Still, don’t think of everything as hard and fast rules. Remember that in the end, email is just another way by which people communicate.


Business email etiquette examples are great as a reference. But ultimately, you should trust your instincts on what’s appropriate.

Today, email is one of the most effective tools in practically every professional industry.


By sending polite and professional emails, it will be much easier to form strong bonds with potential clients, colleagues, and everyone else in the industry.


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