10 Workplace Email Etiquette Tips

In a previous blog post I talk about tips for conference call etiquette, but what about the emails leading up to the conference call and the meeting summary following the conference call? With high volume of emails that hit your inbox in a typical workday, in order to keep productivity high and communications clear, it is important to use workplace email etiquette as well!

Here are some top 10 tips for Email Etiquette:

  1. Salutation – Make sure to clearly address the email with the person it is directed toward. Example: ‘Hello Ann,’ Often times I am included in the ‘To’ field of an email along with 5 others…how do the recipients know who the question is directed towards? Addressing the email correctly will help you get a quicker response and provide less confusion.
  2. To vs CC fields – In addition to including a salutation, it is a good idea to put the people to whom you are addressing the email in the ‘To’ line and then copying the other people that are included for FYI purposes in the ‘CC’ field. This provides an additional queue for the recipients as to who the sender is speaking to.
  3. Lost Recipient – Don’t drop people off emails. Once an email chain is started keep everyone informed (unless they specifically asked to be removed). If you drop off recipients from the email chain, then communications may get crossed or even missed.
  4. Descriptive Subject – Make sure the subject matches the content of an email. Many times people will continue replying all and start a new topic. Instead, create a new email chain with an appropriate subject. This will make searching for emails a lot quicker!
  5. Email Signature – Make sure to have a complete email signature including: name,  job title, company, and contact info. There are several times when I need to contact someone and I have to search through hundreds of emails to find their phone number, when if included on the signature block it would save so much time!
  6. Attachment Limits – Pay attention to attachment size limits! Recipients may not get your email if your attachments are too large. Ask your IT Administrator for limits and make sure you your attachment comply.
  7. Attachment Call Out – When you do include attachments with your email, make sure to reference them. In most cases you will want to type a call out to specific filenames in your email message as well as a short description of what the files contain. This will reduce confusion and draw attention to the attachments.
  8. Email Wording – Make sure to keep your email message concise and to the point. Wordy emails often get overlooked or skimmed through. The message and/or urgency can be unintentionally lost due to large amounts of text. Bulleted lists or shorter paragraphs that get right to the point are great. Do not get into details of how you did something unless you are specifically asked for details on a subsequent email. This will save your readers time and should prompt a quicker response than a lengthy email.
  9. Tasks in Emails – Emails typically get sent out summarizing a call or a meeting that just took place. In the email message, if there are meeting takeaways or tasks that need to be performed, make sure you specify a clear owner and deadline. Don’t expect your tasks to get completed (or completed on time) if you didn’t specify ownership and time constraints.
  10. Response Time – Make sure to respond to others’ emails in a timely manner. If you can’t get to the email right away, make sure to flag it for your attention later. If your response will take thought, simply reply back and let the sender know you are looking into it and give them a deadline for your response so they know when to expect it.


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