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In today’s highly virtual workplace, most of us use email daily. Although emails shouldn’t be used as a replacement for all face-to-face contact, they can serve many functions within a business.

Send a sloppy email, and your professional reputation will take a hit. Send a properly worded and formatted one, and your credibility will rise. Considering this, The Language Gallery has compiled the ultimate guide to email etiquette. Familiarise yourself with the following rules to ensure your emails are helping, and not hindering your career:

Addressing someone incorrectly.
Have you ever called someone ‘Sara’ rather than ‘Sarah’, or ‘Rachael’ instead of ‘Rachel’? It’s best to always double-check names that vary in spelling before pressing send. This small and simple mistake speaks volumes of your accuracy and attention to detail. So, double check your work and address the person correctly.

Don’t be a rambler.
If you send a pretty lengthy email, then the reader will probably only read a quarter of the message, and then leave it languishing in their inbox. Instead, keep business emails to the point. If a message needs to be longer, it’s probably too complicated to be communicated over email. In that case, you’re better off having a phone conversation or a face-to-face meeting.

Stick to relevant subject lines.
As our inboxes get fuller, we rely more and more on subject lines to search for relevant messages. Make it easy for people to find what they’re looking for with an appropriate and clear subject line.

Avoid spelling errors and bad grammar.
There are multiple ways to spell-check your emails so there’s no excuse for sloppy spelling. If your email service doesn’t have a built-in spell-checker, then copy and paste important emails into a word processing system that does. The same goes for grammar. Get it right.

Don’t be misinterpreted.
This can be avoided if you stop and think about what you’ve written, and you spend the time to read it through at least twice. Accuracy and quality are challenged when people rush work, and spending a few more minutes considering the content, the tone it depicts, and how it will be read is a great investment, as once it has been sent, it’s too late to change it, and it will be interpreted as it is written.

Speaking about his top pet peeves when it comes to work emails, Jon Keen, Cyber-Security Project Manager from Edinburgh, said: “I have many bugbears when it comes to emails, one being when colleagues ignore the fact you’re on holiday, as well as people who only send emails to cover their own back, and pointlessly ‘cc’ the whole world into one email.”

Amy Sutton, PR Manager from Guildford, also expressed: “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; starting emails simply with ‘Amy’ is unacceptable. Unless you’re about to tell me to clean my room!”

Whilst Izaskun Arrieta, business owner & TV producer/director, commented: “Kiss protocol! When is it ever appropriate to put an uncalled-for kiss to your colleague?”

Commenting on the above, Lea Aylett, Academic Director at The Language Gallery, said: “Email errors can be particularly annoying and potentially detrimental if you’re trying to make a great impression. Email etiquette is constantly changing, and if you are guilty of committing any of the above faux-pas, it might be time to review your approach. Your employees, colleagues, and co-workers will thank you in the long run”.

For information on formal and informal email phrases, visit:

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