top of page
  • Writer's pictureMark Rocha


Emails have become a ubiquitous mode of communication in both personal and professional settings. As such, it is essential to follow proper email etiquette to ensure that your emails are received and read in the intended manner. In this blog post, we will cover some best practices for email etiquette and provide some usable examples.

Use a clear subject line

The subject line of your email is the first thing the recipient will see, so it should be clear and concise. A subject line that accurately reflects the content of the email can help ensure that it is opened and read. For example, instead of using a vague subject line like "Meeting," use something more specific like "Agenda for Monday's 2 pm Marketing Meeting."

Keep it short and sweet

People are often busy and don't have the time to read long, rambling emails. Try to keep your email as concise as possible while still conveying the necessary information. If your email is longer than a few paragraphs, consider breaking it up into sections or bullet points to make it easier to read.

Use a professional tone

Emails sent in a professional context should use a professional tone. Avoid using slang, emoticons, or overly casual language. Use proper grammar and punctuation, and always address the recipient by their appropriate title (e.g., "Dear Mr. Smith" instead of "Hey Bob").

Be courteous and respectful

Even if you are emailing someone with whom you are familiar, it is important to be courteous and respectful in your email. Use "please" and "thank you" where appropriate, and avoid using language that could be perceived as confrontational or aggressive. For example, instead of saying "You need to get this done ASAP," try saying "Would it be possible to complete this as soon as possible? I appreciate your help."

Proofread before sending

Before you hit the "send" button, take a moment to proofread your email. Check for spelling and grammatical errors, and ensure that your message is clear and concise. If possible, have someone else read over the email to catch any mistakes you might have missed.

Pro Tip: If you’re using Gmail, in your email settings, you have the option to set an ‘Undo Send’ cancellation period. Set this to 30 seconds to allow you enough time to quickly scan through your email even after hitting the send button, and ‘undo’ sending it in case you find a mistake – or change your mind.

Respond promptly

When you receive an email, try to respond as promptly as possible. Even if you don't have all the information the sender is requesting, a quick response acknowledging the email and indicating that you will follow up can go a long way in maintaining good communication.

Use an appropriate signature

Your email signature should include your name, job title, and contact information. Avoid including personal information such as your home address or phone number. If you are emailing from a professional email address, your signature should include your company logo and a link to your company's website.

Here are a few examples of how to apply these email etiquette practices

Example 1: Professional email to a colleague

Subject: Meeting Follow-up

Dear [Colleague's Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to follow up on the meeting we had yesterday and provide a summary of the action items we discussed:

  • [Action item 1]

  • [Action item 2]

  • [Action item 3]

Please let me know if I missed anything or if you have any questions. Thank you for your time and effort in this matter.

Best regards, [Your Name]

Example 2: Professional email to a client

Subject: Request for Information

Dear [Client's Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to request some additional information to help us move forward with the project. Specifically, I need the following:

  • [Information request 1]

  • [Information request 2]

  • [Information request 3]

If you could provide this information by [date], that would be greatly appreciated. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Sincerely, [Your Name]

Things to avoid when writing business emails

When writing business emails, it is important to be mindful of the tone and content of your message. Here are some things you should avoid:

  1. Using inappropriate language or humour: Avoid using inappropriate language or humour in your emails, as this can be unprofessional and offensive.

  2. Writing in all caps: Writing in all caps can come across as shouting and aggressive. Instead, use proper capitalization and punctuation.

  3. Rambling or going off-topic: Keep your email focused and to the point. Avoid rambling or going off-topic, as this can be confusing and frustrating for the recipient.

  4. Using acronyms or jargon: Unless you are certain the recipient will understand, avoid using acronyms or jargon that may be unfamiliar to them.

  5. Neglecting to proofread: Always proofread your emails for errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. This will help ensure that your message is clear and professional.

  6. Writing overly long emails: While it's important to include all necessary information, avoid writing overly long emails. People have limited time and attention spans, and long emails may be ignored or skimmed over.

  7. Using a casual tone with professional contacts: When writing to professional contacts, avoid using a casual tone or overly familiar language. Stick to a more formal, professional tone.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your business emails are professional, clear, and effective.

Outdated language in emails that should be avoided

As language evolves, some words and phrases that were once considered acceptable or even standard may become outdated or offensive over time. Here are some examples of outdated language that should be avoided in emails:

  1. "Dear Sir/Madam": This greeting is considered outdated and impersonal. Instead, try to use the recipient's name if possible.

  2. "To Whom It May Concern": Similar to "Dear Sir/Madam," this greeting is impersonal and outdated. If you don't know the recipient's name, try to find out or use a more general greeting like "Hello" or "Good Morning."

  3. "Please find attached": This phrase is considered old-fashioned and redundant. Instead, use a simpler and more direct statement like "Attached is the document."

  4. "Yours truly": This closing is considered overly formal and outdated. Instead, use a more modern and friendly closing like "Best regards" or "Sincerely."

  5. "As per our conversation": This phrase is considered wordy and outdated. Instead, use a simpler statement like "Following up on our conversation" or "As we discussed."

  6. "Crazy," "Insane," or another ableist language: Words that disparage people with disabilities or mental health conditions are considered offensive and outdated. Avoid using them in emails or any other communication.

  7. "Manpower," "Chairman," or another gendered language: Words that use "man" or "men" to refer to people, in general, are considered outdated and exclusionary. Instead, use gender-neutral terms like "staffing" or "chairperson."

By avoiding these outdated words and phrases, you can ensure that your emails are more modern, inclusive, and respectful.

Templates for your next email

All right, now that we’ve covered all the important stuff – especially with regards to what to and not to do, here are some ready templates that keep all of these tips in mind to get you started on your next email.

Request for a meeting:

Subject: Request for Meeting

Dear [Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I would like to request a meeting with you to discuss [topic]. I believe that this meeting will be beneficial for both of us and help us to move forward with [project/task/goal].

Please let me know your availability for the meeting and suggest a date and time that works best for you. I am available [days/times] and can adjust my schedule to fit yours.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing back from you soon.

Best regards, [Your Name]

Follow-up for information:

Subject: Follow-up Request

Dear [Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to follow up on the [information/document] that you promised to send me. I have not yet received it, and I would appreciate it if you could provide me with an update on its status.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to assist you in this matter. I am looking forward to hearing back from you soon.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best regards, [Your Name]

Leave request:

Subject: Leave Request

Dear [Manager’s Name],

I am writing to request a leave of absence from [start date] to [end date]. The reason for my leave is [reason for leave].

I have completed all of my pending tasks and will ensure that my work is completed or delegated before my departure. I will also provide my contact information in case of any emergency during my leave.

Please let me know if there are any further steps I need to take in order to ensure a smooth transition. I appreciate your understanding and look forward to returning to work after my leave.

Thank you.

Sincerely, [Your Name]

Complaint to HR:

Subject: Formal Complaint

Dear [HR Manager’s Name],

I am writing to raise a formal complaint regarding [issue]. I have attempted to resolve this issue through other channels, but it has not been resolved to my satisfaction.

I believe that [details of the issue] and that this has had a negative impact on my work and wellbeing. I would appreciate it if you could investigate this matter and take appropriate action to address it.

Please let me know if you require any further information or documentation from me. I appreciate your attention to this matter.

Thank you.

Sincerely, [Your Name]


Subject: Resignation Letter

Dear [Manager’s Name],

I am writing to inform you of my decision to resign from my position as [job title] effective [date]. I have greatly appreciated the opportunities and experiences I have had while working here, but I have decided to pursue other opportunities.

I will ensure that my work is completed or delegated before my departure and will work with you to ensure a smooth transition. Please let me know if there are any other steps I need to take in order to complete my departure.

Thank you for your understanding and support during my time here. I wish you and the company all the best.

Sincerely, [Your Name]

27 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page