3 Things to Keep In Mind Before You Send That Email – Email Etiquette


When you have your whole day planned ahead of you, what is the one thing that can deter you from your original plan?  Hint, it is the subject of this post.  Emails are one of those things that can unexpectedly add a wrench to your work plans.

I am all for sharing best practices and keeping your team informed, to a point.  There are times when I open my up my inbox and see that I have over 100 unread emails.  As I go through them, I often notice that a large part of them are emails where the sender clicked Reply All.

Imagine this scenario, your boss sends out an email to his direct reports of 20 people.  In it, he asks a specific question that he would like to know about each of his 20 direct report’s department.  When you reply, do you reply directly to him, or click reply all?

Think about the impact of the example above.  If your answer is not directly related to all those other 20 people, if your reply does not directly impact their performance, you should avoid the “reply all” button.

Determine if you should copy someone else in an email by asking the following questions, “does the person I want to copy need this information to directly perform his duties?   “Will this information positively impact the recipient’s performance?”  If the answer to both questions is no, avoid the “double arrow / reply all”.


Here are 3 Things That You Need to Know about Email Etiquette:

If you start putting these things into practice, maybe you can set an example for your office and start a movement to reduce emails.


Keep it Short.

Become a fan of bullet points.  Learn to get your point across without the novel.


Don’t overestimate the importance of the Subject Line.

Did you ever get an email with no subject line?  Subject lines are great ways to reference an email you want to get back to later.  A practical way to send the receiver an idea of what you need from them is to add the following information at the beginning of the email.

FYI – information only

Action Required – Stating your need for an action.

Urgent – Self explanatory

To do by – When you need an action before a certain date.  Should only be sent to those reporting to you.


Think twice before you forward, cc, bcc or reply all.

Are you a reply all kind of person?  Maybe you shouldn’t be.  Ask yourself if this person really needs to receive a cc, or bcc.  Respect other people’s time so that they in turn can respect yours.  Think about the emails you are sent a copy of.  What percentage of those emails do you really need to be informed of?


How do you decide whether to copy someone on an email?