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Business email etiquette

December 13, 2022

Email has become the most commonly used form of communication in business today. This is because it is more efficient and convenient than any other medium, and is generally the most appropriate form of contacting superiors, coworkers, and clients. That being said, it is crucial that the emails you send for business purposes make a great impression on their recipients. Here are a few business email etiquette tips to use to help you communicate effectively with your business contacts.

1. Create a subject line that informs

Because it is your reader’s first indication as to why you are contacting them, your subject line must be succinct and relevant to your email’s content. It will also determine the importance of your email to its recipient. Avoid ALL CAPS and the use of multiple numbers, symbols, and punctuations, as these mistakes will likely tag your email as spam.

2. Address your reader appropriately

How you start your email can make or break how the rest of it is received. The best pratice is to find a balance between overly formal and overly casual or sloppy. 

Grammerly recommends the following five greetings as standard or fail-proof: 

Hi [name], 

Dear [name],

Greetings [name],

Hello or Hello [name],

Hi everyone,

As for salutations to avoid, Grammerly suggests staying away from: 

[misspelled name]

Dear Sir or Madam,

To whom it may concern,

Hey! Or Hey [name]!

Happy Friday!! Or Welcome to Monday!!

Hi [nickname],

3. Conduct a professional conversation

The way you communicate with a business contact in an email differs in many ways when compared to an email you would send to a family member or friend. Be sure to be concise and to the point, and avoid terms you would use in casual conversation. It is better to be too formal than too casual.

Above all, pay close attention to spelling, grammar, use of punctuation, and make use of paragraphs to allow your email to be easily read. Proof read and use that spell check! 

4. Closing

This is the final impression you will make on your reader. It is often useful to end with a wrap up or by mentioning the “next steps” as a conversation closer of sorts. Then, be sure to end with an appropriate phrase such as “sincerely” or “best regards,” and a brief list of relevant contact information.

Other tips to keep in mind

Skip the emojis 

Avoid sarcasm

Keep it light/avoid negativity

Dont “reply all”

Avoid gossip or anything you wouldn’t want your supervisor to see

Respond within 24-hours

Double-check those attachments!

Using proper business email etiquette is of utmost importance as it will reflect how you are seen from a professional standpoint. Communicating professionally, succinctly, and in a timely matter via email will help you build the professional reputation needed to excel in your career. For a more detailed guide to effective email communication in the workplace, refer to our course titled Email Etiquette.


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