Nowadays, business email is used more than any other means for communication in business, yet many still don’t understand the importance of proper email etiquette. How you compose an email reflects your professionalism and personality, so it is worth spending some time learning how to portray a professional – yet friendly, image. 



An article in the Dynamic Business blog written by Sharon Zeev Poole nominated the top 10 commandments of email etiquette:

1. Never be sloppy in an attempt to be friendly

Play it safe – a balance between formal and friendly is ideal for the first contact. Writing conversationally can come across as too casual, while a formal approach can seem too impersonal. In short, attempt to write like you are addressing a close business contact for later communications.

2. Pay attention to your grammar, spelling and punctuation

Grammar, spelling and punctuation should be one of your top concerns in writing business emails. Remember, how you write reflects your overall professionalism and personality. If you do not consider these things, it may appear that you are too lazy to communication with them and thus will give them the perception that you are not going to be a good person to deal business with. Always double check your email before sending it.

3. Avoid talking aimlessly in emails

The rule of thumb in composing a professional business email is to focus on one subject per email. If an email conversation has exceeded two emails on both sides already – pick up the phone! It does not only save time but is also more professional and convenient. 

4. Choose your subject wisely

Relay your email message by indicating a more specific email subject. Your subject must indicate the purpose of your email.

5. Keep your emails organised

Do not just leave message threads. Make it a habit to organise your emails into categories so you won’t have a hard time finding a certain message again in the future if the need arises. 

When in doubt, keep things professional, clear and kind.

6. Reply to emails promptly

Within reason, emails should be treated like phone calls and be returned within a timely fashion.

7. Delivery requests and sent receipts 

There aren’t many people who appreciate these, so it’s best to give them a miss.

8. Compress large files

It is preferable to send compressed files over sending large attachments. This makes it easier for the recipient to download files easily and reduces the risk that attachments won’t be received.

9. Watch your tone

Your tone of voice can often be misinterpreted via email – watch your tone by adopting a matter-of-fact approach and avoid all sarcasm.

10. Avoid sending an email for discussions that are better done face to face

Delicate messages are not appropriate to be discussed via email. If there are issues between you and the recipient, it is better to discuss them personally, face to face, rather than exchanging bitter conversations via email.

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So, there you have it, our best tips for email etiquette. If you’re still unsure on whether an email is appropriate after reading these tips, it probably isn’t. Rewrite it in a new tone or pick up the phone and call. Good luck!

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