Proper Email Etiquette

By: McKenzie

The official form of communication between students and the University of Minnesota Duluth is email. The emails that you sent in high school to your teachers and peers may not cut it here because in the professional world email etiquette is essential.

Make the subject line clear and concise
Anyone receiving your email is going to judge it by the subject line. A lengthy, cluttered subject line has already lost the attention of the recipient before they have even begun reading your email. Keep it short and sweet.

Address the email recipient
When you directly address the email recipient they will know the email was intended for them. Doing this also engages their attention because they know you expect a response from them personally and prompts them to respond more hastily.

Keep it short
Generally speaking, most people don’t have a lot of time in their days. Keeping emails short allows you to quickly engage them before their mind wanders to the other tasks they need to complete. A lengthy email will likely get skimmed and disregarded.

Proper email etiquette

Appropriate salutations
Always consider your recipient. While your friend may expect you to end the email with your typical, “Peace out,” your employer may expect something more formal. There are very few office environments where you wouldn’t speak to your boss professionally, and even in those environments it may still be best to end the email formally.

Include a signature
At the end of an email you should include your signature. While some prefer to write this out, yours may be too long to write out every time. Luckily through your email provider you can program and save a signature that will automatically appear at the end of an email. Not only will this save you time, but you’ll also keep peace of mind knowing that all your information is correct.

Maintain formality
It never hurts to be too formal. Regardless of who the email recipient is, it is always better to be overly formal instead of informal because the email shapes the way the recipient perceives you. If the recipient responds and tells you that you can be more relaxed that is better than being told that you aren’t taking the conversation seriously.

Bonus tip
Don’t respond to an email while angry. If a situation is upsetting to you, take a few moments (or a day) before you respond. Stepping away from your email allows you to process the situation and formulate a more emotionally even response. Having someone else read your response before you send it can also help you keep emotions in check. Communicating in writing is very different than in-person and we don’t want you to inadvertently burn any bridges.

Read McKenzie’s other posts

Photo source: Unsplash | Alex Knight

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