10 Ways To Practice Proper Email Etiquette

How’s your netiquette lately? Yes…netiquette…net etiquette. If you’re like me, you likely receive an abundance of emails every single day. Do you take time to think about your responses when hitting that reply button or have you become so comfortable with responding that you don’t even think twice?

There’s no better time than the present to brush up on your email skills. Check out my list of tips below:

  1. Do you really need to hit the ‘reply all’ button? To prevent inundating the inboxes of all 20 recipients included on a thread, ask yourself who needs to see your reply. For example, if your boss is asking for everyone’s dinner order for an end of year celebration, ask yourself who needs to see your reply. In this case, your boss is likely the only one who needs to know your meal preferences.
  2. Careful when forwarding. I have personally received a forwarded email with details that were not intended for me. Save yourself the awkwardness of your recipient receiving information that they perhaps shouldn’t be viewing by carefully scanning the email you are forwarding and delete the rest of the thread that does not pertain to your recipient.
  3. Don’t talk about private things. There’s a chance that your email can get in the wrong hands, so pay attention to what you’re sending out on the world wide web. Once it’s out there, it’s out there forever.
  4. Provide context. We’ve all been there…receiving an email that leaves you scratching your head. Be sure to be concise and clear, and provide context. Never assume the recipient knows what you’re talking about.
  5. Use the “Bcc.” feature. There are plenty of people out there who do not want to be looped into a thread with their email address blasted out to 50 other people. When emailing large groups of individuals outside of your own organization, use the “Bcc.” feature to protect the identity of others.
  6. Always let others know about attachments. When attaching documents, let the recipient know what’s included in the email. You should also always name documents appropriately. Ex: Sketch 001, Invoice 005.
  7. Does your subject line make sense? Always, always, always include a concise subject line that matches the body of your email.
  8. Include a call to action. Be sure to outline what you are requiring from the recipient. Do you need a decision? Do you require feedback or a signature on a document? People are b u s y. I appreciate when people let me know exactly what they need from me in an email… that way there’s less back and forth required and less room for confusion. Likewise, if someone sends you an email, especially one with an attachment, please reply to the sender letting them know you have received their email. It’s a quick gesture that lets the sender know you have addressed their message.
  9. Use an auto-responder when you’re OOO (out of office). There’s nothing worse than sending off a time sensitive email and hearing crickets for 3 days straight. If I get an auto reply letting me know my recipient is out of office, I can reevaluate the email and send it off to someone else who can take care of the matter.
  10. When in doubt, pick up the phone. If your message is getting lost in translation, just pick up the phone and talk things out. This is especially useful for projects that require a lot of detail and clarity. You can always have that initial phone call and follow up with an email outlining what was discussed on the phone. This way you’ll know all important details were received and understood. 

Do you have any tips to help our readers craft the perfect email? Drop them in a comment below!

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