Email Dos and Don’ts


7 professional email dos and don'ts you should know by now

If you are a white-collar worker in the modern world, you will use emails every single working day of your life. The benefits that they bring are countless – they have sped up communication to such an extent that the money-making ability of companies has skyrocketed. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, the teenage inventor of the email, can safely say that he has boosted world GDP by no insignificant amount. Despite email’s omnipresence in the working world, however, people still get it wrong. Make sure you’re not one of them.

In-Depth Research

A study by a platform called Perkbox Insights looked into the most annoying and the most beneficial things about email. Their most important findings shine a light on how we should all be emailing.

  • The most annoying phrases you can say in email are: “just looping in”, “any updates on this?” and “as per my last email”. Try to find other phrases and you will find a friendlier correspondent partner.
  • The worst ways to start an email are debated, but there are three you should never use:
    1. ‘Hey’ – especially in a professional context
    2. ‘Happy Friday’ – this is okay to put in an email (who doesn’t like Fridays?), but don’t start an email with it before you put anything else.
    3. ‘To whom it may concern’ – this makes the recipient feel uncomfortable as it sounds too formal.
  • The best greetings for work emails are (in order of preference by the recipient):
    1. Hi – brief but effective
    2. Good morning or Good afternoon
    3. Hello (only favored by a fifth of people)
    4. Dear x (again, might be too formal for most interactions)
  • Most people detest emails that have no greeting at all – while you might think you are getting straight down to business, it can feel a little bit rude.
  • Not having an email signature is a major ‘don’t’ as it reeks of unprofessionalism. Make sure you have a professional signature; if you’re in doubt, use an email signature generator.
  • Sending emails that are too long is also a ‘don’t’. Email is a convenient communication form because it’s instant – if you were writing a letter, extreme length is more tolerable as it can take days or weeks for it to be received and you want to make sure you’ve included everything. When it comes to email, it’s better to be brief and allow room for questions.
  • The worst email sign-off that you can use in a professional setting is ‘Love’. This is unintuitive to many people but still somehow gets done. It is the definition of being overly personal, which can make recipients feel extremely uncomfortable.
  • The best email sign-off that you can use is ‘kind regards’. However, you need to make sure that you know the person you are sending the email to – if you don’t use their name and use kind regards, it is considered bad etiquette.

Make sure you don’t use coloured fonts or capital letters – these aren’t particularly professional and if you use capital letters it instils a fear reaction in the recipient (as it looks like you’re shouting).