Email Etiquette

So you’re starting out at a new job or internship. The first day, they assign you an email address, a password, and hand you a bunch of paperwork to fill out. If your experience is at all similar to mine you will quickly realize that the office not only uses email, but basically survives off of the system (for real, I sit five feet from my bosses desk and she emailed me just to ask to come see her at her desk. Vocal chords anyone?)

Anyways, with that being said, the importance of the proper email is essential.

When typing an email, we have one goal: to communicate information. This may seem obvious, but it’s important to keep in mind as to not stray off task when sending an email.

In conjunction with that goal, we need to remember two words too keep us on track: professionalism, and efficiency. Professional because, well, it’s a professional context, and efficient because emails that get to the point are more effective that ones that drag on in length.

Now here are the rules. Some may seem obvious, but everyone needs a good refresher once and a while.

Email Etiquette Rules:

1) First, always include a greeting and a signature in your email. It can be short — even if it’s just “ Alex —” signed “- Olivia”. It shows that you actually put thought into the email.

2) Be concise. Remember the goal: to communicate. Don’t blab on, because your boss is busy and doesn’t have time for frill.

3) However, do take time to make the letter personal. A quick “have a good weekend!” or “enjoy the sun!” will do.

4) Respond promptly. No one likes to wait when they need information from you.

5) Be sure to answer all of the questions asked of you. Further more, think ahead by answering other questions that may soon be asked

6) GUM: grammar, usage, and mechanics. Need I say more?

7) Use abbreviations and emoticons sparingly

8) Use the active voice, not passive

9) Language should be gender neutral

10) Do not over-use high priority option. Also, take a second to label the priority of your message when you can

11) ALWAYS include a subject. Make it meaningful and descriptive. This way, your bosses and coworkers can easily search for your message.

12) Let’s be mature people – keep it clean. No offensive or defamatory marks (isn’t that obvious?)

13) Double-check your email before you send it. Is every question answered? Is the spelling correct? Did you attach the proper document?

If yes, hit send! Take note of these tips as well:

– If necessary, add a disclaimer to your email

– Under no circumstances should you send a chain message. Ever.

– Don’t use email to discuss confidential info

May your emails be forever professional and effective! <


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