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email etiquette

Email Etiquette for Busy Professionals

Oct 15, 2019

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Does it feel like some days you live in your inbox and can’t ever seem to step away? When you’re a busy professional, email is just a fact of life but there are certain unwritten rules of etiquette that you should follow if you really want to make a good impression. Want to know more about email etiquette? Read on!

email etiquette

Out of Office Replies

If you are headed out of town, do you set up an out of office reply or do you stay close to your inbox so you can reply to your messages? My suggestion: Do yourself a favor and set up a quick vacation responder before you leave.  You’ll save yourself from having to be glued to your phone or computer and set the expectation that your contacts won’t receive an immediate response.

Keep things short and sweet. You can include an emergency contact number if necessary and when you’ll be back in the office. Another tip that might help is to yet, include a link to have them set up a call with you once you’re back using a tool like Calendly. You’ll save yourself from having to be glued to your phone or computer and set the expectation that your contacts won’t receive an immediate response. Keep things short and sweet. You can include an emergency contact number if necessary and when you’ll be back in the office. Another tip that might help is to include a link to have them set up a call with you once you’re back using a tool like Calendly.

Related Post: Email Signatures…Girl, You’re Doing it Wrong

Respect the Reply All Button

Who really needs or wants to be on an email chain that drags on forever that bears little to no relevance to them? When you are sending an email, think about who is really accountable for the communication and needs to know this information. If it isn’t a must read, then think twice before you hit Reply All on that email. Not only does this save everyone involved from having to wade through a slew of emails, but helps to identify who is actually responsible for any action items vs who is just getting an update.

If you must use the Reply All button, be sure to address the individuals in your email who the information is most pertinent to and if you are asking questions be clear, succinct and direct!

Tone & Consideration

Are you taking the time to ensure how your email is coming across? Without inflection sometimes your message can come across negatively unintentionally. Even a well-intended emoji can be misinterpreted or come across unprofessional depending on who you are communicating with. Be mindful of the language you are using in your email and always do a full proof-read. If anything you’ve written could be taken out of context or understood incorrectly, try to see if their is a way to re-write it.

Length and Complexity of Content

Is it even appropriate for an email or would a call or in person meeting be better? If your email could be misinterpreted or is hard to follow a meeting might be a better fit. Or perhaps even a video recording using a tool like Loom.

Thoughtfulness & Professionalism

Did you take time to answer all the questions they asked in your reply? Does your email have proper spelling and punctuation?  These are all things that signal that you took your time in crafting an email to a contact. Don’t be sloppy and hurry though your reply because it reflects on your professionalism.

Are you an email pro or are you lacking skills in that department? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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kristin pruis

Before I enrolled in design school, I was *this* close to switching my major to become a writer. But fate had other plans, and here I am, 10 years deep as a designer while nurturing my love for writing on the side.


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