Texting, Snapchatting, and Facetiming – these all make emails seem like a blast from the past. However, in the professional realm, emails are still one of the top forms of communication. Because we’ve generally become more casual with our methods of communication, it’s important to take a step back and make sure our messages stay professional in a professional setting. It is definitely challenging to switch gears from texting friends and family, to writing out a business proposal for a client, so here’s our list of tips for proper email etiquette.


Make your subject short and direct.

When composing an email, make sure to have a clear subject line. Try to keep it under 10 words – otherwise the recipients won’t be able to read the full subject until they open the full email. However, don’t make the subject one word like “Question” or “Files” – that’s way too general, and might prompt recipients to overlook your message, or think it is spam.

Compose your “to” and “copied” recipients accordingly.

Oftentimes emails are used to communicate with a group or team in a professional setting. Making sure all team members are included in an email is crucial to keeping all parties “in the loop.” When you compose your email, make sure to add those who you’re directly trying to communicate with, and copy (CC) those who still need to see the information to stay updated on a project or process.

Briefly introduce yourself.

If you’re writing to someone you’ve never spoken to before, a short introduction of yourself is common etiquette. Stating your name, title/department, and briefly what your email will be about are all great ways to introduce yourself. Do not give the recipient your life story, but also don’t let them have to question who you are by the end of reading the email.

Keep your messages to the point.

Though sometimes it is necessary to have lengthy emails (sometimes it’s easier to get things in writing for reference later), generally the shorter and more direct you can keep them, the better. Especially now that people often use email via their smartphones, a few paragraphs can seem like a lot of text. Proper email etiquette is to keep your emails focused so recipients do not start skimming or stop reading after the first few sentences. If your email turns into a novel, it’s probably better to set up a phone call or meeting instead.


Reply to ALL

Understanding how to respond to an email is one of the most pertinent pieces of information in communicating in an organized fashion. If you’re involved in an email thread that contains multiple people, proper email etiquette is to “reply all.” This will ensure everyone is staying up-to-date on all messages and updates in the thread. If you simply “reply” it will only go to the last person who sent an email in the thread. This can cause confusion and miscommunications down the road.

If you had no clue that there was even a “reply all” option to emails – let us help! Here’s a step-by-step guide:

email etiquette reply all how to

If you’re using a smart phone (this examples uses the iOS Mail app on an iPhone), hit the arrow pointing left. When your options pop up, simply hit “Reply All”.

If you’re a Gmail user, if you only want to do a regular reply, select the icon of the arrow pointing left. However, if you want to Reply All, you’ll need to click the icon of the three dots, which will bring up a sub-menu with various options. Click “Reply All” and you’re all set! Sometimes