15 tips to refine your email etiquette

Follow these tips to avoid angering your office mates and business contacts.

Email is one of the most efficient ways to stay in touch with customers, co-workers and clients.

It’s faster than sending a letter, less intrusive than a phone call, less hassle than a fax, and often more convenient for the recipient. Because of these benefits, it has become pervasive in our corporate culture—and often misused.

Here are 15 essential email etiquette tips:

1. Use the subject line to inform. Often, the subject line determines the importance of the email. Keep it brief, specific and relevant, or the receiver might accidentally delete your email, or mistake it for spam or an unsolicited advertisement.

2. Treat emails like business letters. When addressing someone, it’s better to be more formal than too casual if you want to make a good impression. Use a person’s surname until he responds by signing his email with his first name. This generally indicates that the person doesn’t mind you addressing him more casually.

3. Don’t write in ALL CAPS. Using all uppercase letters is considered cyber shouting. As an alternative, use asterisks to emphasize key words. For example, “Bob and I had a *wonderful* time at the company reception last night.”

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.