Business Etiquette 101: E-mail Etiquette Every Professionals Should Know

“Laws control the lesser man. Right conduct controls the greater.”  – Mark Twain

Ethics and etiquette are one of the many things that set apart mediocrity from excellence in the workplace.

Professional etiquette is not only a conduct but is more of a lifestyle – a lifestyle of excellence. It is exhibiting excellence no matter what a person is doing, where a person is at or whom a person is talking to.

Simple tasks such as answering or sending business e-mails or texts leave lasting impressions in the business world. Even as simple as e-mailing, professionals should strive for excellence.

Starting professionals and even mid-level managers often forget the simplest business e-mail etiquettes. If you want to have a lasting impression on your client, your manager and even to other employees, see the following business e-mail etiquette that you might want to follow.

Create a Professional E-mail Address

If you’re on your road to professional growth then start by creating a more professional e-mail account. Create an e-mail address that is not cringing. No one would like to send an e-mail or get associated to

Most people would think that a simple nickname won’t do any harm as long as it’s discreet and without the number ’69’ or ‘666’ on it such as These types of e-mail addresses are good for personal use.

But, if you want something professional then suggested e-mail account is just as simple as your name. This is also for the ease of the recipient so that he/she can easily identify whom he/she is talking to.


Include a Courteous Sign Off and an E-mail Signature

Writing business e-mails are like writing actual formal letters. Normally, in e-mails, you have a salutation, body, closing, and signature.

Common courtesy sign offs such as “Best regards” or a simple “Thank you” is very commendable. It makes recipients feel that you are being courteous and puts an effort to communicate towards them with respect.

A signature is important so that the recipient of your e-mail would know who you are, where to contact you aside from your e-mail address and what company you are connected to. If you’re an entrepreneur, you can also include a logo of your company. If you’re connected to a company then it is also more reputable to have the company logo be part of your signature.

Please see below example you can set as your e-mail signature.

Best regards,                                                                                                                                      


Addressing and Salutations

Always address new contacts with the highest courtesy you can muster especially if you don’t know the person you are e-mailing. You might be e-mailing the owner of a large company, the CEO of a multinational corporation and such. Remember that your e-mail leaves an impression.

When you e-mail new contacts, always address them as Mr., Sir, Miss, Ma’am plus their last name rather than calling them by their first name.

You can’t just send an e-mail with a “Hey Joe,” and then learn afterward that Joe is a Mr. Evans, CEO of a publicly listed corporation.

Always address people with grace and elegance as even the act of addressing people reflects something about you.

As to your salutations, make it business-like. A “Dear Sir Evans” would be reputable or just a simple “Hi/Hello Mr. Evans” is good.

Never use “Yow”, “Sup?” or the likes as these are too informal. It is best to assume formality at all times in e-mails.

Respond to Emails (as Timely as Possible)

Most professionals forget to respond to e-mails. It is common courtesy to reply to e-mails especially if it is from your client or from your boss. A simple “This is noted, Sir.” or “Acknowledging receipt of the file” is important.

It saves precious time for the sender. They don’t have to call you to update you that they’ve sent you an e-mail or an attachment.

It also makes clients feel that they are important, that they are not neglected and that they are given priority over anything else.

Timing is also important. What will your response do if it’s already a month late? As much as you’re not busy, respond to e-mails as timely as possible.

Introduce Yourself

Always provide a brief introduction of yourself if you’re e-mailing a new contact. It is courtesy that demands you to introduce yourself before business matters. When you converse on business matters in real life, don’t you introduce yourself first before proceeding with business?

Same idea goes to business e-mail communication. Introduce yourself. If you were the recipient you’d be skeptical doing business if you don’t know who you are talking to, right?

Make the introduction simple. Introduce your name, your position in the company and a simple line of why you’re e-mailing.

Give Importance to your Subject

Your subject will define whether your e-mail will be trashed or not. Always remember that managers and owners do not have the time to read all e-mails. Some people even receive one hundred e-mails a day. So how can you beat all those e-mails?

Devise a subject that will definitely allow your recipient to instantaneously read your mail. Say for example you’re sending a floor plan to a specific project, you can’t just put your subject line as “Sending Floor plan”. What kind of floor plan did you send? What if you’ve already sent the same e-mail subject?

Write a descriptive, straight to the point subject line that will surely get your recipients attention. Instead of sending floor plan, try “Avellana Mansion – Floor Plan as of December 12, 2017”.

Your goal is to allow your recipient to have an overview of the body of your e-mail. This is why you need to write your e-mail subject last as this is the first thing the recipient will see. You have to think properly what e-mail subject you will be putting before hitting send.

Don’t Speak in Jargons

This is what most professionals forget. They speak in jargons and sometimes tend to use expensive words.

Always put your position on the reader’s shoes before sending your e-mail. If you’re a developer or programmer, don’t assume that your reader understands technical jargons. Use as simple and as layman terms as possible. Convey your thoughts as simple and as understandable as possible. Allow the reader to understand your point without having to Google every word you’re saying.

Also, stop trying to appear like a genius with those highly deep synonyms when you can use simple and easy to understand words. There is elegance in simplicity. Top level management can see through bullshit. They will know if you’re trying too hard to appear a genius or they might feel like you’re too condescending.

Keep your E-mail Body Short and Concise

Again, time is gold, especially for top-level managers. Send e-mails that are as concise but as informative as possible. Use bullet points to present ideas if need be. Don’t send dragging e-mails with useless words and jargons that consumes too much time for reading. It is good practice to formulate your thoughts in simple words and paragraphs. Remember what Albert Einstein said? A genius is someone who can take the complex and make it simple.

Be Cautious before hitting Send

Always proofread your e-mail. Though you don’t want to appear condescending, you also don’t want to appear stupid. So always double or maybe triple check your e-mail. Not only should you be cautious to your grammar and spellings. You should also be cautious to the tone of your e-mail.

If your recipient responds in a formal manner then you have to assume formality. Also, remember to address with your highest level of courtesy unless your recipient requests that you address him/her accordingly.

Avoid humor unless your recipient delivers his/her message lightly.

Always Maintain Confidentiality and Privacy

There are information that are best kept confidential so be wary of the things you say or divulge in your e-mail. If there are sensitive information then it be best that it is discussed personally as information might get leaked. Always protect sensitive information. So be wise at copy furnishing people on your e-mail thread.

Also, protect the privacy of other people. Do not give out your contacts’ e-mail addresses to third party.

Create Automatic replies when Necessary

When you’re on a vacation leave, on a business trip or away from the office then it is best that you create an automatic reply indicating that you may have an unreliable connection and that you might not be available to respond e-mails as timely as usual.

Leave your contact number in case of urgent matters. This way, your contact, would appreciate why you can’t respond to their e-mails and would have other ways to contact you in case of urgent matters. It lets them know that you are concern at attending their needs.

Remember that your etiquette in e-mailing leaves an impression to the people you are connected with. Always excel professionally even as simple as responding or sending to e-mail. Create a habit of excellency in business e-mail communication as it adds value to yourself. Your e-mail etiquette reflects who you are in person. You will be judged by as simple as an e-mail in the business world.

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