Business etiquette governs how employees, employers, and businesses in general conduct themselves and interact with one another. This includes in-person, telephone, and email communications and is based on rules of professionalism and courtesy. When that communication takes place via email, it is important to use good email etiquette. Understanding and following the rules of both business and email etiquette creates a positive image of the company and can help improve and develop new business relationships. Good email manners are an absolute necessity for a young and growing business, as this helps to establish the company's good reputation while building connections with potential clients and partners. Following the rules of email etiquette can also protect a business from problems that reduce its workers' productivity, such as computer viruses and problems related to junk mail.

When it comes to proper email etiquette, avoiding computer viruses is of paramount importance. Viruses that come into a computer or network via email can steal passwords, personal information, client lists, and other important business communications. All computers should have anti-virus and firewall software that is up to date, or they should use email services that have these features. Employees should never open untrusted emails or unexpected email attachments. Unsolicited commercial email, or spam, is another potential problem. These messages may also contain viruses or at the very least tie up employees' time in reading and deciding what to do with them. Spam filters, therefore, are a highly essential tool for businesses. To reduce the threat of spam, employees should be careful where they post their email addresses and avoid posting them on websites if at all possible. Forwarding company emails outside of the network is almost never acceptable, as these messages are often considered private correspondence and also company property. In addition, it is a potential security risk. Emails that ask for personal information should be ignored, as they are usually scams. Forwarding jokes or gossip is another faux pas that employees and businesses should avoid, as it can negatively impact productivity and may sometimes be offensive or even legally qualify as sexual harassment.

There are also important rules to observe when it comes to writing emails. For instance, subject lines should never be in all capital letters, and good grammar, punctuation, and spelling are also critically important. The most important information in an email should always come first, and large paragraphs of text should be broken up into smaller, easier-to-read paragraphs. All emails must maintain a polite tone, and personal attacks, heated exchanges, and emotionally charged messages should always be avoided. In addition, emails should convey their message in a concise, clear, and accurate manner. Employees should only forward messages to recipients who need to read them and not to everyone in the office or company. Spell-checkers are a necessity when composing emails, and before sending, it is advised to check over the entire email first to ensure that it is as professional as possible. Finally, employees should know when to send an email and when in-person interaction is more appropriate.

Guidelines for Writing Professional Email

On this page, readers will find professional email guidelines used by the National Institute of Health. The information on this page covers the subject line, greeting, body, closing, and other miscellaneous suggestions.

Email Etiquette Quick Reference Sheet (PDF)

Click this link for a printable reference sheet on email etiquette. The document reviews topics such as writing tips, what not to send as a business email, and composition basics.

Email Etiquette (PDF)

This document provides readers with a numbered list of 15 email etiquette tips. Most of the tips are followed by an in-depth explanation.

Email Etiquette: Put Your Best Foot Forward (PDF)

The etiquette information on this page is designed to help improve the image of businesses and reduce excessive emails. Tips on this page were written for state workers, but the advice is suitable for all professionals.

Email Overview: Email Etiquette

Cornell University offers this email etiquette page that breaks down what people should and should not do when sending out emails.

Netiquette

"Netiquette" is a word that is used by the Florida Atlantic University Office of Informational Technology in reference to politeness and professionalism used when sending emails. The page covers both basic and business email guidelines and etiquette.

Email Etiquette and Why it's Needed (PDF)

Advice such as proper email formatting, standard email etiquette, and corporate communication are covered in this six-page document.

25 Tips for Perfecting Your Email Etiquette

Professionals on this page are given 25 tips for improving their emails. On this page, readers are given tips such as responding in a timely manner, not emailing when angry, and to respect email privacy.

11 Email Etiquette Rules Every Professional Should Know

Business Insider looks at 11 rules that professionals should follow when communicating with other businesses via email. Readers of this article may view each of the 11 rules in a slide show or on a single page.

The New Rules of Business Etiquette

On this page, professionals learn about both business etiquette and email etiquette.

Why Business Communication Is So Important

This page discusses how improving communication benefits businesses internally and also with clients, customers, and business associates.

Improving Business Communication Skills

Review this link to an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach page for tips on how to improve business communications. The page includes a list of steps that are key to effective professional communication.

How to Write Formal/Professional Emails (PDF)

Click this link to review ten tips on how to write professional emails.

Email Etiquette: A Quick Guide to Writing a Professional Email (PDF)

Business professionals may review this document to learn about common mistakes and "rules of the road" when it comes to writing emails.

Professional Email: Etiquette for Today and Tomorrow (PDF)

Warnings, liabilities, and other tips associated with sending professional emails are outlined in this document.

Email 101: Email Etiquette and Safety

GCF LearnFree.org provides a course on email etiquette, which features slide shows and information such as tips for email success and business email etiquette.

Added by Gary Taylor