Achieving Excellence in Email Communication
Tuesday 08/02/16

“Whoops! My email went to the wrong person!”

Many of us have experienced the uncomfortable situation of our emails being mistakenly sent to the wrong party. What is the simplest way to avoid this, and other common email communication pitfalls?

Individuals working in a professional capacity need to differentiate between casual email interactions with family and friends, and professional email correspondence with business associates. Shorthand and keyboard symbols are fine for emails between friends but a certain element of formality and keeping a professional tone is important when interacting with customers or corporate associates.

Here are a few email tips to keep in mind:

Personalize your message.

At the beginning of an email thread, it’s important to insert a greeting. Of course, as the email conversation continues, it is not necessary to add a greeting each time you respond.

Check for spelling and grammatical errors.

Proofread your content to be sure it is grammatically correct. Many people mistakenly believe that emails need not include proper capitalization and punctuation. It is important to realize that the emails you send represent your professional image and incorrect spelling or grammar is an instant turn-off.

“People treat email very casually,” says corporate trainer Paula Goebel, but in the workplace, “your credibility, professionalism and competence will be judged based on how you communicate online.”

Respond in a prompt manner

Often, customers will email questions for which we do not have instant answers. That is perfectly understandable. However, a reply email is always in order; even if you don’t have any real answers, send a prompt message indicating that you are working on it or waiting for a third party’s response. Otherwise, the sender is left wondering whether their email was received.

Write a clear description in the subject line.

Your email is probably only one of numerous your recipient will open on any given day. It is essential to title your email, with a heading that captures the essence of your message, to ensure it will be opened and read in a timely manner.

Career coach Barbara Pachter authored “The Essentials of Business Etiquette”, a guide to email etiquette. “People often decide whether to open an email based on the subject line,” Pachter writes. “Choose one that lets readers know you are addressing their concerns or business issues.”


If your email includes an attachment, be sure to first attach and then type your message to ensure your email does not get sent without it. We’ve all experienced that silly feeling of writing, “Attached please find…” only to have the recipient write back, “Nothing attached.”

It is important to keep in mind that the method of email communication employed by your company ultimately represents the level of its professionalism. Use these tips to help ensure that the emails you send exemplify the excellence your firm strives for.