Email Etiquette

General =

  • Writing useful emails goes beyond a simple productivity tip — communicating quickly and efficiently is the key to staying nimble. Sometimes that means getting up and talking face-to-face. Other times, it means putting a little more thought into email before hitting “send.”

  • actively consider if EVERYONE you are sending a message to is impacted

  • define urgency ... are you unable to move forward with ANYTHING until you get your answer? or are you wanting to complete your task and willing to keep someone else from completing their

  • different tools for different communications (talk about difference between email and meeting)


  • when to reply “thanks"

  • reply all?

Subject Line

  • "When you and everyone else around you writes productive email subject lines, you all save time.”

    • Avoid One-Word Subject Lines

    • Be Specific

      • Example:

        • Bad: Dinner

        • Good: Dinner party at Stacy

        • Best: Dinner party at Stacy this Sat (Nov/7) @ 8pm

    • Write in Actionable Format

      • "In today’s work environment, it’s common that people send emails to others to get something done. ... What will usually happen is that the subject line of the email will be used as the line on the to-do list.”

        • Example:

          • Bad: Contact list

          • Good: Import contact list

          • Best: Import contact list (attached) into CRM before this weekend

    • Use Prefixes and Abbreviations =

      • [FYI] – For Your Information. The recipient is informed that he does not have to reply to this email.

        • Example: [FYI] Free Donuts in the kitchen courtesy of Bob

      • [URGENT] – Used for when something is really urgent. Don’t use it if something is not urgent. And if something is truly, truly urgent, it’s best to follow up with a call or IM as well.

        • Example: [URGENT] Final reminder to file quarterly team reports

      • [EOM] – End of Message. This is usually used when the entire email is in the subject line.

        • Example: Elevator is broken today, please use stairs [EOM]

      • [NRN] – No Reply Needed. Indicates that the receiver doesn’t need to reply. There is likely a body to the message but no response is needed.

        • Example: Jennifer wants you to call her back [NRN]

      • [Y/N] – meaning this email is a Yes/No decision. The recipient is informed that he should reply to this email with a simple very short answer. If you just need to know if they want chicken or fish, or whether 3pm works better than 4pm, use [Y/N] to get your answer more quickly.

        • Example:

          • SUBJECT LINE: Decision needed on location of weekly review [Y/N]

          • BODY: Do you want to meet at Starbucks or in the conference room?

      • [PYR] – Per Your Request. If you’re sending someone something that they previously asked for (in other words, your email isn’t initiating any new actions), let them know right up front.

        • Example: Agenda attached for Weekly Review [PYR]

Greeting (dear, hi, hey, etc.)


Sign off (sincerely, best, etc.)


Email Management (a different meeting entirely):