It’s a necessary evil to learn the do’s and don’t’s of email exchanges. Sure, throwing out abbreviations and recognized expressions may be appropriate when sending quick texts back and forth with your best friend but, “Sure, I’ll totes finish that project later. Super swamped right now. Ttyl!”, won’t go over as well with your boss.
Therefore, to help you with your etiquette, we’ve decided to compile a list of some of the most important things to remember when responding to or sending out emails.
- Avoid the Cutesy Email Address: Let’s start with the basics, your email address will directly affect the way others perceive you. If your address seems childish, you may not be taken as seriously as you should be. It’s always a safe bet to have your firstname.lastname@example.org. Simple is better, now is not the time to show off your creativity.
- Respond in a Timely Fashion: People will understand not replying immediately to their email, but they won’t want to wait for days to hear back from you. Even if you aren’t sure how to reply to the sender, acknowledge that you’ve seen the email and assure them that you will be able to answer their question or give them the information they’re seeking shortly. Respecting their time and the content of their email will put you in good standings with them and others.
- Have a Clear Subject Line: Your subject line should be descriptive of what the email is saying and should be easy to remember if someone is going to search for the email in the future. You don’t ever want your message to be mistaken as spam, so be conscious of what you’re stating in the subject line.
- Be Brief and to the Point: When countless emails are coming in at a time, the last thing anyone is interested in doing is reading the novel you just sent them. Be brief but clear about what you’re communicating. Try using bullet points as easy callouts of what it is you need.
- Paper Trail: A perk yet also a downside to email is that you have a direct paper trail for the entire conversation. This being said, be cautious of what you’re sending, remembering that the person on the other end could forward it to whomever and soon enough everyone can know that you blew up in an email or that your aunt is taking you shopping next Saturday. Send mindful messages and be sure not to send anything you wouldn’t want the CEO reading.
Email is meant to simplify our life, but if not used appropriately it could cause more worry than relief. Remember these few tips the next time you go to hit send and be sure that your email is following the appropriate etiquette!
By: Emily K, Swingline Intern