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Email Etiquette Contest: Win $100 Amazon GC

Email is still one of the hottest forms of communication these days, especially when it comes to business. However, many people obviously use email for personal communications as well – and at times, the lines of proper etiquette can become blurred when it comes to the two. There’s definitely a difference in etiquette when it comes to personal versus business communications. Knowing this, why is it that people still tend to confuse the two? Let’s explore.

shocking email

Personal Email Communications:

  • May include excessive amounts of ๐Ÿ˜€ and/or ๐Ÿ™
  • May include excessive punctuation (“Help!!!!!!!”)
  • May include “YELLING” at the receiver in all caps
  • May include expletives at times (%!@#)
  • May include a multitude of different colored text in one paragraph

The above examples represent just some of the things that should never become a habit in your business email communications. You may know a business associate on a more personal level and some of the things referenced above may take place in your email communications. If the receiver isn’t offended and this is only on occasion – fine. But if any of the above becomes a daily habit in your email communications to this or any other individual – that may become a problem.

Check out this article over at Business On Main, “Why Are People Always Misinterpreting My Emails?,” which explores this topic in detail. Then come back here and leave us your business email etiquette “no-no.” (But make sure that yours isn’t one already listed in the Business on Main article.)

Leave us your email etiquette no-no (and your Twitter username) by the end of day on February 9, 2012, in the comments section below and our team of moderators will pick the best, most disastrous, one to avoid.

The winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to Amazon!

The owner of this site has an advertising relationship with Business on Main.

25 thoughts on “Email Etiquette Contest: Win $100 Amazon GC

  • l33t speak is bad, but we get used to the LOL that has become accepted. I am bothered by people that tell the they LMFAO or ask me WTF. LAMFO is not a super charged LOL, it is an acronym and people read the phrase in their mind.

  • A subject line that has nothing to do with the actual content of the email. I know lots of people think it’s attention grabbing but at what cost? My twitter name is @crosschannelmarket.

  • Twitter name: c2hm3

    Please, oh please – SPELL CHECK. Reread the email before you hit “send” to make sure it 1.) makes sense, 2.) doesn’t ramble and 3.) is grammatically correct.

    No one expects perfection in email – but your email is a representation of YOU. Take time to make sure it reflects the image you want.

  • Blank Subject Lines! BLANK! I can’t believe that businesses would do that, but I see a couple of them a month, and it always leaves me bewildered. I’m not sure if it is a simple oversite, or if it is being used as a tool to increase the open rate. There certainly are enough checks and balances in place in most programs that it shouldn’t be on purpose, so I can only guess that some “guru” is out there recommending it as a technique.

    The only one I like better than that…or rather dislike…is the subject line “Is this goodbye?”. Please! Enough with the drama to get me to open up your email!


  • @y2vonne
    Be very careful how you use BCC. When you add a BCC (blind carbon copy) you run the risk of causing the issue you are trying to avoid. Perhaps you BCC Sally when you email me. Sally may feel compelled or just decide to forward the email to Brad…who decides I need to know Sally was BCC’d. Oh what a tangled web we weave, and all that. The reality is not to BCC anyone. If you need someone to know about the email, and you want it kept private, call the person on the phone, or send a private email to that person. Don’t open yourself up to the possibility that your BCC will be outed – and cause you and the person BCC’d embarrassment.

  • It is amazing to find that in this day and age, some companies still don’t get how important their email communications are.

    My email no-no is don’t annoy your email recipient!


    Do Not:

    (1) request delivery and read receipts
    (2) use the cc field indiscriminately
    (3) overuse “reply to all”
    (4) mark your email URGENT unless it is to the recipient
    (5) attach unnecessarily large files as attachments

    • @JBBC – I use outlook and made a function that removes the ability to Forward and Reply All. When I send reports I usually do not want the Reply All active.

  • I can’t stand when someone sends me an email addressed to “Sir/Madam”. It’s spam at that point, and nothing more. I usually won’t even keep reading.

    I also have had people (small biz) email me and tell me that they got my info from someone else. Believe it or not, 99 times out of 100, they actually name the person, and it’s not someone I’ve ever met or spoke with in life.

    Delivery and read receipt requests get you an ignored message, and then a pretty nasty response from me. Unless you’re my boss, you don’t have any reason to know if I’ve seen your email.

    The biggest, number one faux pas for me? Not having a way for me to easily unsubscribe to you. I should be able to click a link, have it open a window telling me I’m unsubscribed, and that’s that. Don’t make me enter my email address, as I have several coming into one inbox, and now you’ve added another step for me. Don’t make me click on “Are you sure?” boxes, either. Go ahead and tell me on the page refresh how to resubscribe in the event I wish to do so, but other than that, just freakin’ let me go already!

    My twitter:

  • Quite a lot of emails I’ve received certainly do the sender no favours, but I’ll restrict myself to the email no-no’s that I can’t believe I come across on a regular basis;

    1. Obvious lack of a test send or proof-read
    2. Broken links
    3. Company mail shots not tested for display in even the biggest client emails such as gmail or hotmail
    4. Sharing the email address in the CC field of all recipients – not so bad if it’s 5, not ok if it’s 50!
    5. Adding me to a database without my permission – and worse, not removing me when I ask either!

    Not everybody can be an email expert, but sometimes even just asking a colleague to read it could make a difference to your unsubscribes or clicks.

    Debbie McDonnell @marketingdebbie

  • Nothing is worse, or more assuming, than saying “thanks” at the end of an email when you’ve either not asked any favor or action from the sendee, or you’ve asked them to do something out of the norm. It’s a condescending digital tone.

  • If your company have Forums or even better a Social Network, you should avoid sending certain types of emails to just one person. These are usually emails that contain questions that would benefit from having more than one person answering it. You also might want to think about people who might have a similar question in the future and by not putting your question in an email you are creating a knowledge base.

    My twitter account is @frankbradley

    • I have another one. I work in a large multinational and every year we usually have one or two what we call Reply Storms.

      What happens is that first an email is sent out to a considerably large segment of the company usually via a Distribution List.

      What happens next is that maybe a few people have some questions which they address by replying to the Distribution List!!

      Then a few people get ticked off and send an email the Distribution List (again), telling people (ironically) not to reply to the Distrubution List.

      All of a sudden there are a deluge of emails from people telling other people not to reply to the Distrubtion List. When this happens I’ve seen this bring down the entire email infrastructure.

      The lesson. When you’re telling people not to Reply to a Distribution List, please don’t CC the entire Distribution List.

      • @frankbradley – as I mentioned above, I made a template in Outlook that removes the ability to Reply All for just this issue.

  • One that I am frequently guilty of myself is hitting send before I have all the information and having to email the person several times on one topic. Easing your sending ‘trigger finger’ and waiting until you have everything is the best policy rather than ending up sending 10 different emails in 5 minutes. Clogging the other person’s inbox will not buy any good will from them at all and will likely annoy them!

  • I think the biggest email etiquette no-nos are the ones that make people uncomfortable or upset.

    Forwarding or writing about political humor is a big one, especially when you aren’t sure of people’s political affiliations. It leaves people uncertain how to respond, as well as angry and isolated.


  • Please Mr 3rd Line Network Support guy don’t assume that all of your recipients have the same in depth knowledge of the architecture of a RISC processor that you do. – remember your audience and use appropriate language. If your email is understood you got it right.


  • Huge email no-no is reply-all when everyone else on the email doesn’t need to know or benefit from the answer (just to make yourself look important) especially when you are just agreeing with “Yes, I agree”.

    To add to the article mentioning long emails: Bullet point your answer and keep bullet points in line with the old PowerPoint rules of 3 bullets with 5 words each or 5 bullets with 3 words each.

  • I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve received from colleagues and clients alike where text talk is used like it’s no big deal. Unless you are a 14yo girl who’s running a business, text talk is NOT appropriate in a professional email (or anywhere else if you ask me, but that’s another story)!

  • A big email etiquette no-no is using an excessive amount of acronyms. I often receive sales emails and don’t understand what they are trying to sell me because I don’t understand their internal acronyms they’ve used. Be clear and concise for all of your audience.

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