Making a Great Impression: 9 Practical Rules of Business Email Etiquette Every Professional Should Follow

As a professional there are a lot of things you must adhere to when dealing with clients and coworkers. Writing emails is no exception. Emails have become such a standard part of life it can be easy for us to approach them with a relaxed mindset. Following proper business email etiquette is highly important to assure you are maintaining the right impression.

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Depending on the job you hold, you may encounter hundreds of emails a day. Regardless of whether you encounter one or one thousand emails, there are specific business email etiquette rules you need to follow. Here are nine base rules you will need to observe whenever you are dealing with business emails.

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Use Reply All Only When Necessary

Reply all is a very handy function when talking to a group of people. With one click, you are able to provide information to everyone in the group. There are going to be times in which you receive an email sent to a group asking for individual feedback. In a group of 50 individuals, if everyone were to hit reply all there would be a flood of messages coming through your inbox. 

Make sure when you hit that reply all button that everyone in the group will benefit from your reply. If they will not, proper business email etiquette dictates you would abstain.

Reply to Emails in a Timely Manner

One type of professional email etiquette which is not observed enough is the 24 hour standard. Just like it sounds, this indicates you should reply to all emails within a 24 hour period. This shows that you value the relationship between you and the individual who sent you the email. 

If you are unable to reply within 24 hours, make sure to include a reason for your indiscretion. Whenever possible try to reply to emails within the hour. This is especially important for urgent messages. Show you are reliable in your communication.

Make Sure Your Email Address is Professional

While showing an air of individuality is always a fun thing, take caution when it comes to your email address. Any professional emails being sent out should not include an email address with “baby”, “honey”, “daddy”, or the like.

Whenever possible, your email address should be your full name. If this is not possible, it should be some type of version of your name. Adding numbers to your email address is fine in terms of business email etiquette as long as they do not have a double entendre like “420”, or “69”.

Create a Professional Signature Block

Every email is a chance to connect further. For this reason, you should have a professional signature block attached at the end of every email. Whether you are sending the email personally, or it is generated with email follow up automation, it should offer the chance for further communication.

Make sure the signature block includes the same size and type of font as the rest of the email. Some of what you should include in the signature block:

  • Full Name
  • Title
  • Company name (and graphic is possible)
  • Phone number
  • Professional social media account links

Limit Humor in Emails

Humor has a time and a place, but proper email etiquette dictates it should be used sparingly. You do not want to blur the lines between when you are being serious and when you are joking. By using humor sparingly, it will have a more punctuated effect.

Never use humor in an email with a serious tone. You may unintentionally give the impression you are not taking the matter seriously. Even worse, to joke in a serious email you may offend the people reading the email. Choose your time and audience carefully when using humor in emails.

Reply to All Emails

When you receive a lot of emails, it can seem difficult for you to respond to everything. Proper business email etiquette dictates you should make every effort to do just that. This applies to even the random emails not intended for you in which someone is waiting for a response. Let them know of their error and move on.

Remember you are trying to set yourself up as someone with good communication skills. If you are known as the person who picks and chooses which emails to respond to, you may cause people to feel less important when they do not always receive a response.

One great way you can make sure to follow through with this is to set times in your day for emails. By setting aside 15-20 minutes every hour or two, you will have all the time you need to remain up to date on all your correspondence. 

Make Sure to Proofread Your Message before Hitting Send

The best way to avoid sending the wrong message in your email is to know exactly what you sent. By taking that extra few moments to review what you have written, you have the best chance of preventing disaster. 

While this may seem like one of those email etiquette tips that goes without saying, it should not be ignored. One letter missing or inadvertently added can cause you to send the wrong message. Believe it or not, this is one of the least followed pieces of advice when it comes to emails.

Write Email Message before Adding in the Address

If you have ever sent an email before you were finished, you will benefit from this piece of advice. Make sure you have written the full email as well as attaching all documents before you add in the recipient emails. This is a part of business email etiquette that can actually avoid disaster.

Waiting to add the recipient before you send the email can also help to force you to read the email before sending it. You are able to take a breath and make sure you have everything you need in the email before you send it along.

Assume All Emails will be Read by All

Even if you followed one of the business email etiquette tips above by not hitting reply all, you still may be in danger of more people reading your email than intended. Whether someone may feel the need to share your email, or it is mistakenly forwarded, there is always the possibility it to be shared.

For this reason, you should always assume your emails are public property. Do not talk disparagingly about others. Make sure your tone is always professional and on message and you will not have to worry about what may happen to your email in the future.


These are just a few of the business email etiquette rules you may want to observe. They will provide you with a good method for your emails to be taken seriously as well as to maintain your position as a good communicator.

As a general rule, make sure you are observing the same social graces you would utilize in mixed company. Be respectful of others. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Remain professional at all times

Follow these simple and easy email etiquette tips to assure you are making the right impression. You will be surprised with how easy it is for you to maintain these etiquette tips when you make them a regular part of your everyday routine.

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