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Email Etiquette

Bad email etiquette can get you into a lot of trouble in business, and given that in many instances the recipient is someone you've never met, it is essential that your emails are constructed correctly. Here are a few tips to keep you out of trouble and keep your emails polished and professional.

Clear subject lines
It's crucial that your subject line gets to the point, to grab their attention in a sea of emails. Expect that any email with a vague or obscure subject line will be passed over more quickly than something informative.

Don't get mistaken for spam
Emails written either entirely in caps or entirely in lowercase and those including links and exclamation points in the subject line are often picked up by mail marshalls as spam and not delivered. Sometimes when they do get through, they look like spam emails to the recipient and can often land you on their junk email list – not ideal!

Provide a warning when sending large attachments
Especially to people who you know are often away from their desks and using mobile devices. It is mega frustrating when you use up all your data trying to download a file.

Beware of reply all
We've all been caught out on this before – sending a response intended for one person to everyone in the email chain. Think about whether everyone in the email needs to be aware of your response or not, especially when there is a large list of recipients.

Email vs. telephone
Sometimes when there is complex or technical matters to discuss or in-depth arrangements, it can be a lot easier for both parties for a phone call to take place. This is usually followed up with a confirmation email outlining what has been confirmed (but not always necessary, use your judgement).

Bad manners
You should never send emails for last minute cancellations of meetings, lunches, and interviews. A phone call is always preferable and will reflect better on you professionally and personally. You should never send emails to deliver bad news personally and again a phone call is preferred. If you have to deliver bad news to a large group, email is more practical and in this instance is acceptable.

Know your audience
Start off with a friendly and appropriate greeting and use suitable language. Limit smiley faces unless it is someone you have good rapport with and is within a personal email. Avoid using smiley faces in group emails.

Always use a signature
This is a key element for every email you send. Make it easy for your recipients to find your contact details by including them in your signature – you can create a 'new email' signature and a 'replies' signature as to reduce the length of the signature, but always ensure your emails are professionally signed off.