5 email etiquette tips

‘Oops’ moments teach the best lessons. Instead of learning from adverse experience, however, you could just read this story.


As it is for many of you, email is my primary form of communication. On average, I send between 75 and 125 emails a day. So, why wouldn’t I use the same good manners and business etiquette in an email that I would use in a client meeting?

As public relations professionals, we pride ourselves on our strong language skills and error-free communication to all audiences. Everything we do, write, say, post, and tweet is a reflection on us and our clients.

The following five tips are things I’ve learned or reminded myself when emailing clients, media, colleagues, and even family members.

Trust me, if it’s on this list, at some point in my career, I probably did the exact opposite. After all, those “oops!” moments are the best learning moments.

1. When crafting an email, don’t populate the “To:” field until you have completed typing and proofing your message.

2. Start your email with “Thank you,” unless you have a good reason not to.

3. Email auto-fill can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Be sure to check the name that appears when auto-fill occurs before you send.

4. Be careful not to hit “reply all” unless it is completely necessary.

5. Proofread your emails twice, and then a third time—whether internal or external—before hitting the send button. If it is a detailed email to clients, have someone else review it before you send.

6. Err on the side of being formal rather than informal. It is better to over-address than under-address, especially when emailing a client.

What would you add?

Jackie Koumpouras is an account manager at Borshoff, a marketing, advertising, and public relations firm in Indianapolis. A version of this story first appeared on the firm’s blog.

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