Writing an email is a lot different than writing a simple text or even having a conversation. In fact writing really good emails, there is some skill set in order to do it. Today I will show you some tips on how to write effective emails so that you can have excellent email etiquette at the workplace.
Making email etiquette mistakes in the workplace it’s not going to capsize your career. But learning the hidden rules of writing professional emails will affect how competent you are. In this article, I’m going to share the very real benefits of getting good at emailing in the workplace. Then dive into my top ten tips for professional email etiquette. Many of which I learned the hard way during my first full time job as a consultant. These email etiquette tips will be really helpful in your professional environment.
So let’s get started.
Think back to the last time you received a poorly written email. You might have had to reread it few times to get main point. And the action items might have been scattered all over the place. Worst case scenario, it led to an unnecessarily long back and forth email thread that could have been avoided. If the initial email been properly planned out and therein lies the beauty of well crafted emails.
Not only does it help you the sender come across as more capable by showcasing strong communication skills. But also saves the reader so much of their time by only surfacing information relevant to them. So, let’s get started.
Email etiquette Tip 1: Focus on Subject Line
Subject lines are your best friend. Now there’s competition in the world of email and that competition is the inbox. A lot of people have a slew of email so how does your email pop out. Well this is where the subject line comes into play, really think about what is it that you’re doing. Because your emails are now just sticking to the facts and very clear.
First step is to have a call to action when appropriate in the email subject line. Most of us are familiar with a generic action required in subject lines all right?
These are the best email etiquette tips that I found that very helpful.
My recommendation is just take it a step further and include exactly what you need the recipient to do. And the estimated time it takes for them to do it. For example, instead of writing action required, feedback for new app, write five minutes survey feedback for new app instead. This very small trick probably gave you a lot more context.
It’s a survey for new app I can get it done very quickly in between the two meetings I have. Or if it’s not appropriate to include the estimated time, be specific about the call to action. For example, instead of spending estimates for work, write Elon to approve spending estimates for work. So Elon knows what’s expected of him even before he opens the email.
Tip 2: Stick with one email thread
This is another great way to stay organized with your emails. Stick with one email thread for the same topic. I’m going to be honest. I got called out for this by colleague of mine, but I’m glad she told me. Basically, I used to send out separate emails for the same project whenever I had a new idea or follow up question. But if you think about it from the recipient’s point of view, they’re missing the context from the original email thread and multiple new emails on the same topic just clog up their inboxes unnecessarily.
So the general rule of thumb here is to stick to the original email chain for any given topic. So everyone can refer to the same information.
Email etiquette Tip 3: Explain why
Explain why you added in or took out recipients in email threads. There are many situations you have to add someone in to the email thread to get their input, or take someone out to spare their inbox. A professional and easy way to do this is to add a sentence at the very top of the email clearly showing who you added in or took out. I’d like to add parentheses and italicize the font to separate it from the actual email body this way the readers know who the new recipients are immediately.
These are the best email etiquette tips that I found that very helpful.
Tip 4: Include main point first
Actually addresses a very big pet peeve of mine, which is when senders include a lot information up front, but what they’re really trying to get at or ask for is at the very end of the email. To avoid that always include your main point first, followed by the context. Just compare these two emails.
Hi Mark, my name is Susan and I’m in the product marketing team. We’re preparing a forecast deck for the Mr. Elon and he’s looking for the revenue projection numbers for the new phone that’s launching soon. Can I trouble you to pull that data for me?
Compare that with,
Hi Mark, may l please trouble you for the new phone revenue projection numbers?
Context, the product marketing team is currently preparing a forecast deck for the Mr. Mark and we’re hoping to use the projections to fight for more budget. It would be amazing to get numbers for to in a Google Sheets format. By pushing the context back, we’re giving the other person the option to read the not so important part of the email.
Oftentimes when we’re emailing someone more senior than us, we feel obligated to explain why we’re emailing right at the beginning. So it doesn’t seem like we’re bothering them. This is actually counterproductive because if the person is very senior they probably just want to know what you’re emailing them about how they can help deal with it then move on with their own schedules.
Email etiquette Tip 5: Summarize the sender’s main points
If you receive an email with a lot of disorganized content, summarize the sender’s main points for them in your reply. So if you receive an email from someone who clearly has not read this article and sent you a long wordy convoluted message you have to reread a few times you want to do two things.
Number one, send them this article, number two, take a few minutes identify and bucket common themes from their email and summarize their message in a few sentences before responding to whatever they’re emailing you about. Not only does this help you confirm your understanding is correct, the other party will appreciate the extra effort you took to help them organize their thoughts. These are the best email etiquette tips that I found that very helpful.
Tip 6: Creating hyperlinks
Create hyperlink whatever possible. This is another pet peeve of mine. If you’re sharing a link with someone over email, you really should take the extra few seconds to hit Command K on Mac or Control K on Windows and hyperlink the external website. Not only to this looks so much cleaner to the recipient than just pasting the big clunky link, but it also decreases the chances of you making a mistake by adding an extra letter or deleting one in the original URL.
Email etiquette Tip 7: Change default settings
Change default setting to reply instead of reply all. This is honestly the risk averse side of me talking. The way I think about it, let’s say your reply to an email in a rush and you do make a mistake, the damage is contained to that one recipient because your default setting is a reply to one person instead of reply to all.
This is a standard setting and most if not all of the popular email clients and you can usually find this in the general settings section.
Tip 8: Use the undo send option
Change undo send option to 30 seconds. So you might not know this, but Murphy’s law when it comes to emailing the workplace, is that you will always catch your mistakes 3 seconds after the email is already sent. All jokes aside I’m sure we’ve all been there. We send an email we go into the sent email folder to read it from the other person’s perspective and we realize something is wrong. Again this is a standard setting you can play around with in all of the email apps. Instead of the default five seconds undo send, for example, we continue to 30 seconds for good measure. These are the best email etiquette tips that I found that very helpful.
Email etiquette Tip 9: Separate your emails. Stick to one subject
Lot of times we bury information in the body of an email. So use bullets be really clear and concise with what you want to do and give them the information accordingly. Each bullet is kind of like a one-liner in regards to the subject at hand now something else too. In regard to being clear concise and using bullets is to only stick to one subject at a time so if you’re sending out an email about a report that has a due date and then you throw in some additional information like hey we also have a meeting in two weeks. I highly recommend you separate those two. I promise you, it will get lost. They’re gonna forget about that meeting question or reminder that you sent out so separate emails really quick and concise and use bullets pitch-perfect
Tip 10: Be conscious with your writing tone
I want you to really be conscious of your tone with emails. We don’t have the luxury of body language and actually speaking to someone where we can hear what their tone is like. A lot of times with emails something very simple can be misconstrued because the person on the receiving end just may be in a certain mood or just had something happen to them so therefore they’re gonna interpret your email in a way that was not meant to be interpreted.
Therefore with you being clear and concise really think of your tone simple languages. Reread it a few times to make sure that the tone is very straightforward and you’re not insinuating anything. So think of your punctuation those exclamation marks those all compute interpreted in a way just go simple and basic and keep it sweet read it. Over do a quality check on your emails too many times to ensure it is right.
Please let me and the which one of these tips was your favorite. Or perhaps which ones you’ve already been using all this time.