TORCH Tip of the Week: Use Proper E-mail Etiquette

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Emailing is primarily one of the easiest and cheapest forms of communication. People all over the world have email accounts and use them for personal luxuries and for professional encounters. In fact, you can’t sign up for anything, including jobs, without having an email address.

The web gives you the opportunities to interact with so many people on the web and it is extremely important that you have proper email etiquette. Having the proper email etiquette will not only help you excel in the professional world, but it will also allow you to communicate with different people over the web. Below are ten tips that will give you great advice on using proper etiquette.

1. Make sure you have a professional e-mail address. It is very important for you to have a professional email address. Email addresses like or are not acceptable and do not give you a positive image! If your email address is not professional it will probably be ignored, deleted, or go into spam.

For example:  

2. Introduction and closings of an email. When beginning an email you should start the greeting formally, using their last names and title. Often times if you don’t know exactly who’s receiving the email you can use a general introduction. As you begin the body of an email make sure to be polite. When closing an email thank the receiver for their time and conclude with a formal closing.

For example:

Greeting: “Dear Ms. Jones or Good Morning Mr. Lou” and “To Whom It May Concern:”

Body: “I hope this email finds you well.”

Closing: “Thank you for your time” and “Warm regards, Best or Sincerely”

3. Check the email before sending it out. Check your email for grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Don’t use all capitals in the email because it makes it seem as if you are shouting and may trigger unwanted responses from the receiver. Finally, don’t use abbreviations such as BTW (by the way), LOL (laughing out loud), or smiles (: -D) because the recipient might not know what they mean, and it is simply unprofessional.

When replying to an email make sure you answer all the questions that are being asked and if you feel uncomfortable answering a question, kindly let them know. If you don’t answer the questions in the original email you will most likely receive other emails following up which might cost frustrations on both sides.

4. Include a subject in your emails! When sending out an email, always include a subject. The subject should be a concise description of your email. This will not only help you organize your emails but the receiver will appreciate it as well. Only send emails with a subject marked urgent and/or important if it is sincerely important.

For example: Inquiring About Job Position or Question About the Assignment.

5. When you receive an email READ IT! You should always read their emails entirely, otherwise you might be missing out on important information and deadlines. You may also end up asking questions that are already answered in the email, which shows that you didn’t read the email entirely, and it becomes time consuming and possibly annoying for the receiver. Plus, I’m sure you wouldn’t appreciate it if someone did the same to you.

6. Be timely! Send out emails during business hours and if you have a deadline to submit something through email be sure to meet that deadline. Reply to an email within 24hours of you receiving it or if you don’t have a response for it at the moment, let them know you’ve received it and will get back to them with a response as soon as possible.

7. Just get to the Point! Remember there are only 24 hours a day and people have many things to do, so don’t make emails longer than they should be. Just get to the point, but also stay polite.

8. How to Use Cc and Bcc. Cc stands for carbon copy and Bcc stands for blind carbon copy.  When you Cc a person in an email you are sending them a copy of the message. Keep in mind that when the message arrives, it will show a list of all the addresses that received a copy. This could be handy if you’re in a group working on a project, and need to notify everyone of a change, and let the others know who has been notified.

When you Bcc a person on an email they receive a copy of the email but when the message arrives to the main receiver, the information of the person who was Bcced remains hidden.

9.  Be courteous when attaching files. When you attach a file to an email (document or pictures), let the person know that you’ve attached it to the email.  However, before sending it make sure that the file isn’t too large and if it is, minimize or compress “zip” the file before sending it. Sending out large files can cause inconveniences, (for example, filling a person’s inbox and causes other mail to bounce back or slowing down their email system. Try to find out the file limits for different types of servers that way you know when you’re sending a file that’s to big.

10. Don’t forward chain letters or send inappropriate emails. Chain letters are not only annoying they also pass on viruses to computers. Make sure you remain sensitive to racial, sexist or culturally offensive content in your emails. By sending these kinds of emails you can seriously offend someone and if you’re do it while representing a company you work for you and your company can face a lawsuit. Finally, if you want to gossip, just pick up the phone! Your employers have access to your emails and you might accidentally send someone the wrong email message.

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Make sure to leave us your tips on using proper etiquette!


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