Do you know what professional email etiquette is?

An email is often the preferred method of communication. And the way to communicate effectively is by using professional language, be it verbal or written.

A professional email should be just that: professional. We send and receive so many emails per day that it's easy to forget our manners. Yes, they apply here too. Remember that this is often the only manner of communication you have with someone; no face-to-face or even telephonic conversations.

A fair amount has been written on this subject and most Websites all say the same things. But perhaps you might learn something here.

I have discovered an outstanding article on this subject, written by PPG Proofreading in the United Kingdom. If you're serious about email etiquette, I can recommend that you read it as well.


email, email etiquette

1.  Grammar, spelling, and punctuation

Don’t be careless, your personal image and your company’s image are on display.

Be certain that nouns and verbs agree, and that your tenses are correct. Use the spellchecker before you send an email. (The settings can be such that it is done automatically.)

Overuse of the exclamation mark! and CAPITAL letters are considered extremely rude. It may seem as if you are shouting at the reader. And the meaning and sense of the message could be confused if full stops and commas are simply omitted.


2.  Length  

An email message should be short; brief sentences, conveying the point of the mail clearly. If an email seems like an essay to the reader, he/she will quite possibly not read it.

If a long message with many facts needs to be conveyed, add it as an attachment.


3.  Proofread

Before you click ‘send’, read the mail to make sure that no errors have slipped in. Mistakes will give the receiver the idea that you are unprofessional and the message may be misconstrued. Be certain that your communication is effective.


4.  Signature

Add a personalized signature to each email you send. The settings can be adjusted so that this is done automatically, and you may choose to add the signature to emails you reply to as well.

Apart from your name, the signature should contain contact details such as your mobile number, website address, and title.


5.  Abbreviations

Try to avoid abbreviations or else, add the meaning the first time it is stated. This includes informal acronyms such as ‘lol’ and ‘btw’. Unless you are absolutely certain that the reader will understand, avoid emoticons as well. Again, professionalism is a priority.


6.  Reply

You should reply to emails within 24 hours at the least. But try to do it on the same business day – the message or information may be time-sensitive. If the email requests lots of information or you need to think about it, send a quick message indicating receipt and that you will reply as soon as possible.

The point is, make absolutely sure that there are no errors in your writing, don’t use weird and wonderful backgrounds or images, and above all, be professional.

Kind regards

Elize Cookson

+27 (0) 82 373 7657

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top