15 email etiquette rules every professional should know

The average US employee spends about a quarter of the work week combing through the hundreds of emails we all send and receive every day.

But despite the fact that we're glued to our reply buttons, career coach Barbara Pachter says plenty of professionals still don't know how to use email appropriately. 

In fact, because of the sheer volume of messages we're reading and writing each day, we may be more prone to making embarrassing errors — and those mistakes can have serious professional consequences.
Pachter outlines the basics of modern email etiquette in her book "The Essentials Of Business Etiquette." We pulled out the most essential rules you need to know.

1. Include a clear, direct subject line.
Examples of a good subject line include "Meeting date changed," "Quick question about your presentation," or "Suggestions for the proposal."
"People often decide whether to open an email based on the subject line," Pachter says. "Choose one that lets readers know you are addressing their concerns or business issues."

2. Use a professional email address.
If you work for a company, you should use your company email address. But if you use a personal email account — whether you are self-employed or just like using it occasionally for work-related correspondences — you should be careful when choosing that address, Pachter says. 
You should always have an email address that conveys your name so that the recipient knows exactly who is sending the email. Never use email addresses (perhaps remnants of your grade-school days) that are not appropriate for use in the workplace, such as "babygirl@..." or "beerlover@..." — no matter how much you love a cold brew.

3. Think twice before hitting 'reply all.'
No one wants to read emails from 20 people that have nothing to do with them. Ignoring the emails can be difficult, with many people getting notifications of new messages on their smartphones or distracting pop-up messages on their computer screens. Refrain from hitting "reply all" unless you really think everyone on the list needs to receive the email, Pachter says.

4. Include a signature block.
Provide your reader with some information about you, Pachter suggests. "Generally, this would state your full name, title, the company name, and your contact information, including a phone number. You also can add a little publicity for yourself, but don’t go overboard with any sayings or artwork." Use the same font, type size, and color as the rest of the email, she says. 

5. Use professional salutations.
Don't use laid-back, colloquial expressions like, "Hey you guys," "Yo," or "Hi folks."
"The relaxed nature of our writings should not affect the salutation in an email," she says. "Hey" is a very informal salutation and generally it should not be used in the workplace. And Yo is not okay either. Use Hi or Hello instead."
She also advises against shortening anyone's name. Say "Hi Michael," unless you're certain he prefers to be called "Mike."

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