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Email Etiquette in the era of the internet

Stephanie Costabile

Email Etiquette in the era of the internet by Stephanie Costabile on May 7th, 2018

Welcome to the year 2018, where email is the main form of communication in the workplace. In a world where partners and coworkers get to know you by your email style, it’s important to make sure you’re not sending the wrong message.

Here is a guide to sending a clean, informative, personable email guaranteed to keep the chain goin’ and the positivity flowin’.

The Subject Line
This is the first thing your email receiver will see. This is what determines your email being opened or deleted. Keep the subject straightforward. If you are sending a marketing plan, call it “BRAND NAME Marketing Plan” instead of “2018 Information.” Something too vague can get lost in a busy inbox.

If you need to send two very different documents to the same person, I’ve always been a fan of sending multiple emails. This way, the subject line will be clear enough to locate and file away, and in case the receiver only has time to respond to one document and not the other, they can do so without losing the earlier conversation about a completely different topic.

Keeping to the point in emails is good. Grouping topics are bad.

The Greeting
Less is more. It’s appropriate to play catch-up if it has been a while since your last discussion. The “hope all is well” is a natural and positive well-wishing greeting. Asking about a weekend or an evening can increase the attentiveness if you are on a more personal level. And beyond that, the specifics about “their child’s birthday” is also a nice conversation starter for those more tight-knit.

What we want to avoid is a disingenuous greeting that is paragraphs long, and very clear cut and paste. This will depend on the number of people receiving your email. If you have a closer relationship to one of the six co-workers in the “To” column, asking about their night out with multiple beverages is probably not the best way to say, “Hello everyone.”

Personal and positive is good. Lengthy and inappropriate is bad.

The spacing
Many believe it’s easier to get your point across through a phone call – where you have the ability to have a fluid conversation and tell your story with emotion. However, many MORE people want nothing to do with picking up a phone anymore.

How do we combine the two worlds? Send an email and get to the point!

Find the balance between telling a story and getting the main point across. It’s important to show personality when e-facing with clients and partners- this helps build rapport and trust- but writing essays in an email body will deter people from taking in what you are putting out. Space out each point so your email is an easy read and invites conversation.

Quick and to the point sentences are good. Long-winded paragraphs are bad.

The Sign-Off
Ending an email tends to be a common struggle in the professional world. No, you probably shouldn’t end it with “Love” or “Yours truly.” Rather, keep it neutral and remember, sincerity goes a long way. Are you looking forward to working with them? Are you looking forward to their reply? Are you thankful for what they have sent you? These are feelings that we should be communicating with our counterparts! Let them know you are excited to put your plans into action. Let them know you are looking forward to your meeting next week. When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a “Thanks.”

Signing off with a simple and professional thought is good. Sending hugs and kisses is bad.

The Reply
“Reply” vs. “Reply All.” The age-old question that has a very simple answer. If you are replying to an email with five people in the “CC” column. The email initiator has likely added them there for a specific reason and wants them to be involved in the conversation going forward.

Always Reply All.

If there is someone unnecessarily receiving emails, they will likely mention it (or just delete the irrelevant email!). This is a small sacrifice rather than having someone who SHOULD be involved miss out on crucial information in a chain.

If you are unsure about sending information to everyone in the email chain, simply start a new one with a new subject line that will address any additional issues!

Replying all when multiple people are already added to the email list is good. Removing potentially crucial people from a conversation is bad.

Hopefully, this round-up of good vs. bad email habits will help everyone confidently send their next email.

Hugs and Kisses,


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