Email has become an integral part of the business world. In many cases a company’s entire image is relayed through the way they handle email communications. Because email is quick and easy to send it can be tempting to skip some of the niceties that are vital to effective communication that portrays a professional image.


Avoid Humor


Well-meant or not, jokes do not translate well in email. The recipient only has the text to go from and may not understand that a lighthearted comment is meant to be funny. It is too easy for an attempt at humor in an email to be misconstrued as something insulting or sarcastic.




It can be tempting to type a quick response and send it immediately without reading it over for grammar, clarity, and spelling mistakes. Always read through a business email at least once to make sure it is correct and clearly says what it is meant to say. Sloppy emails look like generally sloppy business practices.


Informative Subject Lines


Put the purpose of the email into the subject line. The recipient probably receives dozens of emails on a daily basis. If the subject line is vague or nonexistent, the email will probably be viewed as a low priority and may even be discarded as spam. Stating the reason for the email in the subject line is a good way to make sure an email is opened and acted upon in a more timely manner.


Use Proper English


It can be tempting to use text shortcuts to relay emotion in an email. That is fine for correspondence between friends, but it detracts from the professional nature of a business email. Avoid using exclamation points, typing in all capital letters, using text abbreviations, or adding in emoticons.


Use a Formal Salutation


Begin every email with a formal salutation. Use “hello” or “hi” and include the recipient’s name when possible. Never, ever use slang like “hey” or “yo” to begin a business or formal email. Remember, an email is simply an electronic version of a business letter and represents not only you, but the company you work for.


Include a Signature


Always sign a business email with your full name. If possible, include your business title and options for other ways to reach you, like a phone number. Most email programs will allow users to create a formal signature that automatically attaches to every email.