How many times have you accidently sent an email without finishing it or failing to put in the all correct info?  Have you ever hit the “reply all” button when you meant to send to only one person?  Have you mistakenly sent emails to people in the heat of the moment and then wish you had edited the tone or the content?

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If any of this sounds familiar, then join the club.  Despite email being around for nearly two decades, workers still tend to forget proper etiquette, especially when they are in a rush or in moments of stress. But taking the time to edit and consider what you are emailing is critical. According to Inc. Magazine, “…experts agree that your e-mail behavior has the potential to sabotage your reputation both personally and professionally.”

Here are some good tips to remind you about email dos and don’ts by Heartland Companies and a few other sources we researched to provide you with some recommendations.

Who should be on the TO Line and who should be CC’d

  • Keep TO line to one person: Unless multiple people need to act on your email, limit who you are sending the email to.
  • Need to send to a lot of people? If someone needs to be communicated the information but doesn’t need to act on it – put them in the “CC” box.

Email Message Etiquette:

  • Get to the point: Emails should be short and to the point.  You can always elaborate in a secondary email or even via phone and face to face.
  • Should you REPLY ALL? When someone sends a question to a distribution list through email, think twice before you REPLY ALL.  Usually, only the person who asked the question needs the answer.
  • While on the Subject: Always include a “subject” in the subject line – keep it short and informative.
  • Looking for approval for an idea or document? It is best to put “Approval” in the subject line when asking for a decision as well as an action item at the top of an email and use the remainder for the explanation.  It is best to phrase the response in a simple yes/no format.
  • READ and edit before sending an email: Read and reread your email before you send it to avoid sending something that you will later regret.
  • Include a Signature Line: recommends that professionals always include a signature line.  This helps the recipient have some basic information about the sender such as your company, contact information and so on.  This also shows a professionalism and assures the recipient of a certain amount of legitimacy as well as offers you some space to publicize your organization with any awards, a tag-line and more.
  • Don’t use casual language in business email correspondence: BusinessInsider recommends staying away from such terms as “hey guys” or other informal greetings in business emails. You can use hi or hello if you want to be more casual – but consider the source and use appropriate respectful terms/ language (same as if you were greeting the recipient in person).
  • Respond: It’s polite to respond to email inquiries within 24 hours.


Did you know that company emails are company property?

  • Remember that all e-mail sent to/from your company address is company property.
  • Do not use your company e-mail address to conduct business for personal gain.
  • Never use company email for any illicit purposes including pornography, gambling, etc.
  • If you are away, be sure to turn on your Outlook “Out of Office”.

Careful of Illicit Emails: Many cyber criminals try to reach out to their victims via email – releasing viruses into the network once an email or malicious link is opened. While most companies have filters and anti-virus malware, be aware of opening any emails that do not look legitimate. If you do open the email, do not click on the link.

  • If you are not sure whether or not an email is legitimate, then use caution and refer the email to your IT department or supervisor.


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