Business Email Etiquette

Even in the dozen years or so that I’ve been working, electronic communication has changed so much. We are all on the go, and it’s common that a lot of email is done from phones & tablets; maybe even more so than laptops. With this comes a tendency to make communication more casual, and the lines have grayed between what is acceptable for personal and business communication etiquette. I put together some tips that I have found helpful in my business communications and that my recipients have commented on as helpful for them as well:

  • Always read over your emails to yourself before sending them, to correct spelling & grammar mistakes (even on a smart phone). Nothing puts people off like needless spelling mistakes or emails that aren’t understandable because they are missing words, etc.
  • In the business world, if your job is very fast-paced & everyone receives 100 emails a day, only send thank you emails if someone has really gone above & beyond (but if you do it, copy their boss). In the volunteer world, a thank you is always nice.
  • Consider employing a system that lets people know what you expect of them. One I like is beginning the subject of your email with a directive (examples below). This is an excellent sorting mechanism for people, and shows that you respect their time and priorities.
    • Urgent
    • Action Required
    • Inform
  • It is becoming more and more acceptable to use text messaging if you really need a quick response from someone, as so many people receive hundreds of emails a day. If you use this communication method, use it sparingly & people will be more apt to respond quickly.
  • Never reply all, unless it is absolutely necessary.

Hope these help & let me know your tips below!


Mark LeBlanc

Great tips Jenn. I know the “reply all” is over utilized and many times locks up my email account. I always try to be respectful of the other person’s email account.

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