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Like most people, you probably send a few emails daily, and
perhaps significantly more.
However, when’s the last time you thought about email
etiquette and made sure you were following it? You might skim your
messages to make sure they don’t have errors, but other things
are as important as that step.
Read below to find out what you don’t know about the modern
rules of email etiquette.
1. Don’t Assume the Recipient Remembers Previous Conversations
In today’s fast-paced culture, it’s common for people to
assume everyone’s keeping up with them. They might send brief
emails without context, but doing that breaks email etiquette and
could make things unnecessarily confusing.
For example, maybe you’ve been going back and forth with
someone about meeting for coffee to go over an upcoming
presentation, and the latest message said: “How about if we meet
on Friday at 4 p.m. at Java Delight for coffee?” What’s the
best response concerning email etiquette?
You might want to reply, “Yes, I’ll be there.” However,
it’s better to reiterate everything the sender needs to know to
avoid a scheduling confusion. Respond with a short reminder of the
meeting and its purpose.
Say, “Yes, meeting at 4 p.m. on Friday at Java Delight sounds
great. I look forward to seeing you then, and we’ll discuss the
data science presentation.”
Taking that approach could have far-reaching effects, such as
your relationship with your boss. After all, emails that assume
the recipient remembers things said previously are frustrating,
especially if the person reading the material already has an
2. Always Have a Descriptive Subject Line
Many email interfaces, including Gmail, allow you to mark
senders as important or add them to a whitelist, both techniques
that should ensure emails land in the inbox and not the spam
folder. However, people still skim their email boxes and determine
which messages most need their attention.
With that in mind, there are some subject
lines to avoid. Instead of “Read this, please, “Quick
question for you” or “Help!,” it’s important to be more
specific about what you need.
For example, try “Need your approval to book hotel room for
the leadership conference,” “Having trouble logging into the
call center interface this morning”, or “Please review my final
draft of the marketing proposal.”
One of the things people
wish they knew sooner is that they aren’t the center of
attention. If you use one of the subject lines suggested as bad
examples, the implication is that you think your need or problem is
the only thing the recipient has to deal with at that moment, but
that’s probably not true.
3. Confirm Your Receipt of Emails and Set Expectations
You cannot always give an in-depth reply to an email, but should
still let the sender know you got the message. Try something
straightforward like, “Hi, I’m confirming that I received your
email. You can expect a reply by the end of the day tomorrow.”
Doing that alleviates the worry people may feel as they wonder
whether their emails got overlooked.
This quick tip also saves you from getting more emails from
people who type things like “Just curious if you got my message
…” Also, taking the time to confirm the timeframe for an
expected reply gives the impression you’re competent at managing
4. Specify the Urgency Level
Be as clear as possible when letting people know how to handle
your emails. For example, if the message is not time-sensitive or
you don’t need a reply at all, you could say “Feel free to take
your time with providing your insight, as this matter is not
urgent,” or “I just found this information and thought it might
be helpful. No need to reply to me.”
Conversely, if you do need a prompt reply, mention that. You
could say something like, “Since I’ll make my decision by
Friday afternoon, I need to hear your thoughts before then. Being
precise about the urgency is one easy way
to write better emails.
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5. Don’t Send Emails When You’re Angry
Even though your feelings may compel you to do otherwise, it’s
best to avoid
sending emails when you’re angry. It’s OK to write the bulk
of one when you’re upset, but before hitting “send,” look the
message over and check your tone. Passive aggressive emails, as
relieving as they may be, are far from proper email etiquette when
replying to bosses or peers at work.
6. Ask Permission Before Sending Large Attachments
Many email services have file size limits. Besides, some people
don’t like receiving large things to download without warning.
Ask if it’s OK to distribute the file through email before
sending it. Otherwise, consider alternative ways to make
attachments accessible to people who need them.
7. Don’t Hit “Reply All”
Unless your conversation is between a few people, not everyone
in your company needs to get a response from you. Make sure to
reply to the initial sender or whoever you’re responding to
8. Reply To All Emails Quicky
If the email for you requires a prompt response, respond as soon
as you are able. This will prevent any emails from being forgotten
if the information is time-sensitive. An easy way to
compartmentalize emails into priority is by creating labels for
them or starring them for quick referencing.
Start Improving Your Emails Today
This list proves that even small changes make significant
differences in how you come across via email. Consider trying them
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