15 email etiquette rules every professional should know
- For many professionals, responding to emails takes up a sizable chunk of work time.
- While writing an email seems simple enough, there are mistakes many employees make when sending or receiving work messages.
- From avoiding the "reply all" button to double-checking for errors, here are 15 email etiquette tips every professional should know.
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Whether we like it or not, responding to emails consumes much of our time on the job.
Employees spend an average of 4.1 hours a day checking work email, according to a survey conducted by The Washington Post. That means workers log a whopping 47,000 hours in their inbox over the course of a career.
Despite the fact that we're glued to our reply buttons, career coach Barbara Pachter says plenty of professionals still don't know how to use emails appropriately.
Because of the sheer volume of messages we're reading and writing, we may be more prone to making embarrassing errors, and those mistakes can have serious consequences.
Pachter outlines the basics of modern email etiquette in her book "The Essentials of Business Etiquette." We pulled out the most essential rules you need to know.
Jacquelyn Smith, Vivian Giang and Rachel Sugar contributed to earlier versions of this article.
Include a clear, direct subject line.
Use a professional email address.
Think twice before hitting 'reply all.'
Include a signature block.
Use professional salutations.
Use exclamation points sparingly.
Be cautious with humor.
Know that people from different cultures speak and write differently.
Reply to your emails — even if the email wasn't intended for you.
Proofread every message.
Add the email address last.
Double-check that you've selected the correct recipient.
Keep your fonts classic.
Keep tabs on your tone.
Nothing is confidential — so write accordingly.
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