A Friendly Reminder Re: Email Etiquette

According to Inc., the average US employee spends about a quarter of the work week combing through the hundreds of emails we all send and receive every day.

That sounds about right.

As we send and receive these hundreds of emails, we might get into bad habits that could cost us professionally. For a reminder on email etiquette, see the following list of 15 email etiquette best practices.

1. Include a clear, direct subject line.
2. Use a professional email address.
3. Think twice before hitting 'reply all.'
4. Include a signature block.
5. Use professional salutations.
6. Use exclamation points sparingly.
7. Be cautious with humor.
8. Know that people from different cultures speak and write differently.
9. Reply to your emails--even if the email wasn't intended for you.
10. Proofread every message.
11. Add the email address last.
12. Double-check that you've selected the correct recipient.
13. Keep your fonts classic.
14. Keep tabs on your tone.
15. Nothing is confidential--so write accordingly.

On any give day, I could use a direct reminder of these best practices. I ran into an issue recently where my tone and humor were lost on someone who had never met me in person. I was trying to diffuse a situation but probably ended up making it worse.

And it always surprises me when law students don't have a professional email address, yet it happens often enough. It should be something that everyone acquires during 1L year.

Attorneys (and prospective attorneys) would do well to adhere to these tips, along with Bryan Garner's advice for coherent email memos.


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