Stop overusing exclamation points in business emails!

The punctuation point, ubiquitous in texting and social media posts, has infested workplace communiqués. Maintain your gravitas without seeming like a wet blanket.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

Workplace rules used to be simple.

If you were in the office, you wore a suit and tie. If you were writing a memo, you kept it formal.

Today, social mores have changed, and the default setting from our clothes to how we communicate is often business casual.

Two recent studies suggest that the office is more like an Ultimate Fighting Championship bout than a dignified place to work:

It seems we have entered an anything-goes era in the workplace. Where are the rules? What’s appropriate?

If you want to jump on email and bash your boss, go ahead, but before you click “send,” I have one request: Cut back on the exclamation points.

Yes, we glide from Gmail to Twitter to Gchat and the messages muddle together, but work email should remain a cut above. Too many exclamation points imply you’re young and inexperienced (like this). Right or wrong, they make people question your seriousness.

I created the guide below to outline when it is appropriate to employ exclamation points in work emails. I’m not so rigid and old school to suggest that they disappear altogether. As in all things, moderation is key.

1. Hello and goodbye

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.