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The do's and don'ts of e-mail etiquette.

E-mail takes up a significant portion of the workday—and while it's fast and efficient, social rules accompany any form of communication. Give your message time and attention, and consider these basic e-mail tips.


Know your audience.
If communicating with upper management or clients, use a formal business letter format and complete sentences. If you're shooting your colleague a quick message, being casual is cool.

Provide a clear, specific subject line.
Think of it as a competition: With hundreds of e-mails clogging inboxes, the clearer the subject line, the more likely your message is read. A

winning subject line is meaningful and clear at a glance.

Determine the right metrics. It helps to ask yourself what will most affect your business in the next year, what your specific revenue objectives are, and what criteria are essential for success.

Use a professional salutation.
Resist the temptation to use "Hey." Use "Hi" or "Hello"—or even "Dear," to be more formal. Always address recipients by name, but never shorten a name unless you're given permission.

Some correspondents might not like having their e-mail address made available to others, and if your recipient list is long, readers will have to scroll.

Know what's working for you.
In the business world, you're always on your toes. Constantly revisit your business plan, metrics and goals—and make any needed adjustments. If something isn't working for you, change it.

Observe the practices of your company.

Most companies have e-mail standards and customs, such as font style and size. If you're unclear on the bells and whistles, ask someone. If you don't have standards, consider creating some; they contribute to your personal brand.

Be more polite than when you speak.
Electronic communication lacks tone and inflection, and emojis are unacceptable unless you know the recipient well. It's important to use friendly language and carefully chosen words.

Stay concise.
While e-mails are meant to be longer than text messages, they're still meant to be a quick form of communication. Make it short and sweet—but include that one line of small talk, to keep things polite.


Assume e-mail is private.
Don't send anything via e-mail you wouldn't want anyone else to see. Many companies monitor employee e-mail, a system glitch could cause e-mail to end up in the wrong inbox, and e-mail is too easy to share.

Type in all capitals.

Overlook your signature.
Think e-mail signatures are obsolete? Think again! E-mail signatures are essentially electronic business cards, telling recipients who you are and how to contact you. Every e-mail should include a signature; set yours up to automatically appear.

Neglect to proofread.Make sure your message is clear, grammatically correct and devoid of spelling mistakes. Double-check names and e-mail addresses.

Forget to reply to all e-mails.
Even if you don't have the answer at the moment, take a second to let the sender know you received the message. If you know you won't have access to e-mail, set up an automatic response and respond as soon as possible.

Overuse "reply all."
If an e-mail is sent to several people, think about who needs to see your reply.

Courtesy of Serendipity Media.