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Business Email Etiquette Rules

Top 50 Business Email Etiquette Rules

If you use a smart email client, business email etiquette can help you build healthy business communications, eliminate email overload and boost your email productivity. See below the most complete list of business email etiquette rules.

    Make it easy to read and understand your message

  • Use complete sentences, not random unfinished thoughts.
  • Include all necessary details in your message to help your reader get the point.
  • Do not use slang, specific terms or acronyms which are not widely used. Otherwise your recipient might have problems understanding you.
  • Make your message brief and to the point. Concentrate on the subject matter.
  • You can choose to quote questions before answering them. Do not overuse quoting all original text however, as a ton of '>>>>' clutters the message and prevents it from looking neat. Edit out unnecessary information from the message you are responding to.
  • Use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation

  • Use a proper sentence structure in your email messages.
  • Spell the name of the recipient correctly.
  • Do not type your message in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS - this is considered shouting according to email etiquette rules. Besides, the ALL CAPS text is difficult to read.
  • Do not type your email in all small case either - this gives the perception of a lack of education.
  • Avoid using informal words like "coz", "ain't", "gotta", etc. This can make you sound uneducated.
  • Be careful with styling and formatting

  • Refrain from using fancy fonts and multiple font colors. A business email is supposed to look formal and restrained.
  • Do not use patterned backgrounds; they will make your message harder to read.
  • Use formatting like italics or bold fonts sparingly. Rely on words, not formatting, as your email may not look as intended in a recipient's email client.
  • Refrain from using too many embedded images in your message; otherwise some spam filters may regard your email as spam.
  • Use plain text over HTML when in doubt.
  • Use a neutral tone of communication

  • Refrain from getting too informal before you get to know the recipient better.
  • Avoid using multiple instances of an exclamation mark (!!!) or a question mark (???).
  • Avoid using emoticons in business emails; this may look unprofessional. You should only use them (sparingly) when you've reached a familiar level of communication with your recipient.
  • Don't use sarcasm or irony; they can be misinterpreted easily.
  • Chill out before sending a nasty reply to a nasty email. A rude reply can make the things even worse.
  • Be thoughtful and polite

  • Start every email with a greeting. Make sure to use an appropriate salutation.
  • Never forget to include a closing phrase at the end of the message, e.g. Best regards, Sincerely, or Thank you.
  • Don't hesitate to thank your recipient in case they were of help.
  • Do not forward email messages without your personal comment or a short personal note; otherwise this may sound impolite.
  • Do not send business attachments after business hours when they will likely be using a smartphone or other personal device to read your email.
  • Take advantage of signatures, email templates and auto-replies

  • Use an email signature with your contact details. This will give your recipient more options to continue communication.
  • Using an automated signature will save the time spent on typing a salutation, name and contact details.
  • Use the auto-reply feature when on vacation.
  • Use email templates or standard responses to save time when replying to frequently asked questions. Make sure to edit the template text before sending to make it sound more personal.
  • If you have no time to reply to an important message right away, send a short notification email stating when you'll be able to attend to the request.
  • Check it twice before you send

  • Check your email before sending to see if you wanted to send an attachment but forgot to include it. Ask for permission before sending huge attachments.
  • Make sure the Subject field in not empty. The subject line should reflect the main idea of the message.
  • Make sure the address or addresses in the To: field are those you wish to send your message to.
  • Spell-check your message before sending: a message with typos can be treated as unserious or even be ignored.
  • Before clicking Send, reread your email to make sure it is not emotionally charged or impolite.
  • Don't harm your recipient

  • Don't overuse the CC: feature. This can clutter the Inboxes of those you've contacted and expose their email addresses to each other which might cause a privacy infringement problem.
  • When forwarding or replying to an email message with multiple recipients noted in the To: or Cc: fields, remove the addresses of those to whom your reply does not apply.
  • Do not use the "Reply to All" option for no special reason. Configure your email client to use the "Reply" option by default, not "Reply to All".
  • Do not broadcast product or service information emails to those who didn't subscribe to your mailings.
  • Make sure to provide an UNSUBSCRIBE option if you send an opt-in newsletter.
  • Abide by laws and regulations regarding email

  • Follow your company's emailing rules and policies.
  • Do not use your corporate email account for private communications.
  • Do not forward corporate emails to anybody besides your company employees, clients, partners or company service providers.
  • Do not use an internal corporate mailing list for personal announcements unless you have been permitted to do so.
  • Before sending bulk mail to a list of foreign recipients, make sure to learn what you can and cannot send to the recipients in that specific country.
  • Manage your emails efficiently

  • Use an email client to track all emails in one place and be able to attend to them in a timely manner.
  • Respond to emails within 24 hours of a business day.
  • Before accusing someone of ignoring your message, check to see if their reply was mistakenly deleted or sent to your Trash or Junk folder. Use the EmailTray email client to have all good emails rescued from the Spam folder.
  • Add an email address of each new valuable contact to your approved or white list so that their future emails could go through your spam filter or ISP filtering system.
  • Use anti-viral software and update it on a regular basis to avoid the risk of sending viruses via your corporate email account.

Following the email etiquette rules in your everyday life will give you a definite advantage. However, it is not enough to forget about the post effects of email overload. Business email etiquette rules will primarily save the time of your email recipients and encourage them to pay you back with the same courtesy.

If you want to make your work with email really productive, you should also take advantage of email management tools. These can help you automate many tasks and save the time that you spend on email management daily. Take EmailTray for a test drive to see how comfortable it is to use a smart email client!

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