Email etiquette: The dos and don'ts of communicating via email


More than 2.5 billion people use email to communicate. It is a vital tool for many businesses and a nice way for friends and family to stay in touch. While it has been around since 1972, many people still don't quite fully grasp how to articulate themselves via electronic mail. 

Just like a text message, tone can be hard to decipher in an email; if someone is trying to be efficient by sending a one line email, the reader may perceive that to be rude. If an sender is attempting to be professional, it can come across as intimidating. Here are some dos and dont's. 

Do begin an email with a friendly "Hi [name]...". It's hard to go wrong with an opener like that. 'Dear sir / madam', 'Hiya', 'To whom it may concern' are too far either side of the formality spectrum. 

Don't misspell the recipients name. This can come across as rude, lazy and will put the recipient off mailing you back. Just take a minute or two to double check how they spell their name before hitting send

Do place your contact details at the bottom of an email, should the recipient want to follow your email up with a call. 

Don't "cc" when you actually mean to "bcc". If you are sending an email to multiple recipients, who don't know each other, at the one time you should "bcc". This means no other email address, apart from yours is visible. This is a common courtesy to the recipients. 


Don't be over friendly. While it's always nice to be nice, the use of 'xoxo' or 'hun' in an email can come across as unprofessional and insincere.  


Jessica Kelly,

Back to top