15 Tips for Business Email Etiquette

I work in an office as many of you do.  I get 100s of emails a day.  Too many times I’ve received emails that left me thinking, “Does this person have any sense of professionalism; why am I doing business with them?”

Here are some tips on business email etiquette that I’ve picked up over the years:

  1. Use your business email; not Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail (or the dinosaurs that still use AOL); especially don’t use emails like ‘’; either give up the college emails or only use business emails
  2. If there a lot of people on an email, don’t automatically ‘replay to all’; only reply to the necessary people; this is especially true when replying ‘congrats’ or ‘thanks’
  3. You don’t always have to have the last word; “thank you”; “your welcome”; “I really appreciate it”…no need to keep it going, cut the chord
  4. Don’t automatically CC’ someone’s boss if you want something to get done; give the person a chance to do it; if they don’t, then bring in the big guns
  5. Don’t use colorful stationary for business emails, only Elle Woods from Legally Blonde could pull that off
  6. Pay attention to the little red swiggly lines that indicate a word is spelled wrong; nuthin seys you don’t no what you are talking about like a mispeled wurd or improper use of grammer
  7. Read an email in its entirety before sending; once you hit send…it’s too late
  8. Don’t ‘recall’ messages; it only draws more attention to it; simply send another email with the corrections and apologize
  9. Don’t send every email with the red exclamation point!  If everything is important, then nothing is!
  10. Don’t go overboard with signatures…no one really reads them anyway.  I’ve seen some with 5 to 10 hyperlinks; how much time do you think people spend at the bottom of the email?
  11. If I send you an email that warrants a response; kindly do so, even if you don’t have the answer right now
  12. If I send you an email with multiple questions; don’t only respond to one question; I’m not asking just because I like to type
  13. Dnt eml lk U txt or Twt – save it for those platforms
  15. Don’t be long winded.  I have a rule thumb; if an email is longer than my hand…I’m not reading it.  Keep it simple and get to the point; we all have 100s of emails to get through and don’t want to spend 20 minutes on your dissertation

There you have it.  I hope you are not guilty of any of these; if you are; clean up your act.

John Boyer is Director of Marketing for Coldwell Banker Commercial