Email correspondence: We can’t live with it, yet we also can’t avoid the reality that one-third of our daily work-related person-to-person communication is via email. And that’s just the email we send one another in the course of a work day. Commercial email like promotions, newsletters (and gotta-have subscriptions we love) are in addition to the work-related conversational email we process daily.

38.5% | Percentage of communication with co-workers that is via email
32.1% | Percentage of communication with contacts outside the office that is via email

(Source: Recode)

Last month, we shared some advice for handling email from Google’s G Suite. It was a popular topic so we decided to share some more suggestions for email usage today. JP Danko, writing for DIY Photography, suggests that following a few simple rules of email etiquette will help reduce the pain and improve the effectiveness of the professional medium we all seem to hate, but can’t seem to live without. Here are Danko’s suggestions. If you have more suggestions, share them with us via—what else?—email at Tips@SmallBusiness.com.


1 | Address an email to one person.

When emailing to a group, choose the most relevant person or project leader as the “TO” contact and “CC” the rest (the FYI group). People who are CC’d on an email are expected to read the email for their information, but they are not required to respond to or act on the email.

2 | Only “reply all” to those who are relevant.

Email should only be sent to those who should follow-up.

3 |  Specify a different subject for each email.

The subject line for every email should always reference at least two things: the job or project that the email is relevant to and the specific subject the email is regarding. If you don’t follow this rule you will never be able to effectively find old emails for reference. If you have two subjects to discuss, use two email messages.

4 | Do not use email for a two-way conversation.

Email was never meant to be a two-way conversation. Email should be reserved for sending a specific packet of information or a request for an action and a reply. There is no reason for an email chain to exceed one or two back-and-forth iterations. If you want to have a two-way chat or an ongoing conversation, use Slack, texts or some other less formal communication.

5 | Keep business email formal.

Business email should follow a standard letter format. Begin with a greeting, followed by what you want to say and a signature with the appropriate contact information.

6 | Do not send large attachments via email.

Email is for text and small attachments, not for transferring large files. Use services like Dropbox for that.

Do you have any email tips: Email them to us at Tips@SmallBusiness.com.

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Also on SmallBusiness.com

How to Improve the Productivity of Co-worker Email | 2017