Email Etiquette

Make a great electronic impression through professional and polished emails.

People at work used to pick up the phone to communicate with their colleagues, or simply walk down the hall, but now we tend to send a quick email even to those who sit right next to us! The overuse of emails, and the lack of care we place on them, can sometimes lead to grammatical errors, badly constructed sentences, a lack of digital professionalism, or worst of all, just bad manners.

​Below are some typical questions people have about how to craft the perfect email,

How should we start an email?

  • Know your audience. Different styles and language for your boss versus your best friend. Always keep in mind, however, that your email can be forwarded to anyone at any time. Keep it clean and have no regrets once you press send.
  • Choose the subject line wisely and change it as needed. Make it straightforward, and include a call to action as necessary (e.g., “Meeting Agenda” or "Luke's Soccer Schedule").
  • Don’t forget to say, "Hello." You should open every message with the person’s name, as well as an optional, appropriate salutation (i.e., “hello” or “hi”—but not "what’s up," unless it's addressed to your BFF). This is your recipient’s first peek into your personality and professionalism, and diving right into your email’s main objective without first acknowledging your reader can come off as curt.

What’s important to remember when writing an email?

  • Keep it simple with good formatting. Your message should be clear and to the point. If you’re emailing about something potentially complicated or difficult to understand within a succinct paragraph or two, consider picking up the telephone instead. 
  • Review for grammar and ease of reading. Emails should be written like a letter with proper grammar, punctuation, and be sure to capitalize and write complete sentences. Use bullet points to make things easy to read, as well as underline topic areas so people can scan for what information they need to have quickly.
  • Know your email could be shared with anyone!

Any tips to remember before you press the “Send” button?

  • Have a polite close. Always sign off with your name and an appropriate farewell. Your best bets? “Thank you,” “Best,” “Respectfully,” or some form of the latter. Don’t forget to include your signature block with correct contact information.
  • Only CC those who need to know. No one likes getting more emails than they need and hate to figure out why they are being copied.
  • Re-read or wait especially if you’re angry when writing it. Proofread your email before hitting send, and if you write an email when you’re angry, walk away and wait until you have cooled off and then reread (and most likely delete) what you have written

Other questions on etiquette? please go to my website at or email me your question at