Business Email Etiquette

On average, about a quarter of the work week is spent reading and answering emails, according to the McKinsey Institute.  However, despite that statistic, many professionals still fall short in proper business email etiquette.  Knowing professional email greetings and professional email formats makes a difference.   When it comes to your business emails, you need to make an impression that you are a credible professional that people can take seriously.

Begin with a Professional Salutation

Set the tone of your email with opening word selection. Be cordial, while refraining from overly friendly openings. Your salutation, or greeting, should include words such as:

  • Hello
  • Good morning
  • Good evening
  • Greetings

Such terms connote professionally positive outreach and reach across international boundaries.

Craft a Captivating Subject Line, Introduction and Email Purpose Statement

A clear, direct subject line assures that your email will be opened. Introduce yourself by name, title, and organizational affiliation. This sets the stage for your central message.

  • Move on to stating the purpose of your email.
  • Use active language to describe the purpose of your message.

Know Your Audience to Create a Relevant Message

Form a cohesive message for the body of your email. Clearly share details that you will interest your reader.

  • Know you audience, following guidelines related to culture and business setting.
  • Avoid sarcasm or inappropriate use of humor.
  • Begin with the reader’s interest in the topic to select and itemize relevant facts.
  • When your message includes a request for participation, clearly state what it is.
  • Prepare an attachment for more detailed messages.

Proofread and Do So Again

Thoroughly review your email, including attachments. Be sure content is accurate. Check for typos and weak language usage. A polished, error free message conveys professionalism, attention to detail, and a solid grasp on proper business email etiquette.

Remember: An email is a written document that may be shared with others. Be sure that it represents the face you want to present to the world.

Summarize with a Concise Closing

Prepare an action focused closing paragraph that neatly summarizes your overall message. Use a positive, professional tone. Highlight your email’s content. Limit repeating word use except for terms that are most relevant to your message. State if a reply is anticipated, including a preferred date. Otherwise, include that a reply is not needed.

Sign Off Professionally

Sign off sincerely, using terms such as “regards” or “best regards.” Do not use emojis. Stick with professional acumen to assure your message is professionally received.

Business Email Etiquette Overview

Whether you are building a new business relationship or reinforcing a current relationship, the level of professionalism that you show in your communications, including business email etiquette will have a huge effect on your success.


For more business communication etiquette, check out Communications Skills for Workplace Success