Business Email Etiquette Mistakes to Avoid

In the business world, emails are the lifeline of communication. According to a recent study by Square Future of Commerce, 60% of people prefer email as their primary method of business communication. They are quick, efficient, and essential for day-to-day operations. However, the ease of sending emails can sometimes lead to common etiquette pitfalls. Here’s a  guide to help you navigate the most common business email mistakes and ensure your messages are always well-received.

1. Putting the Most VIP Email Address First

When addressing multiple recipients, place the most important person’s email address first. This shows respect and acknowledges their priority.

2. Keeping Subjects to 5 Words or Less

A subject line that’s too long can come across as spam. Aim for clarity and relevance in your subject lines to avoid the junk folder. Keep to 5 words or less in a subject line and avoid all capital letters. 

3. Misunderstanding CC (Carbon Copy)

If you CC someone, they are there as a reference, not a primary recipient. Therefore, you shouldn’t address them directly in the body of the email. This avoids confusion about who the main recipient is. For example, if you are emailing Daniel and CC’ing his assistant, then Danielle’s email goes in the recipient section, and his assistant’s email goes in CC section. Then in the email you would only say Dear Daniel and not address his assistant in the body of the email. 

4. Incorrectly Using “Dear”

When starting with “Dear,” list the most VIP person’s name first. For example, if Bill is the CEO and Sarah is the CMO, as the CEO is higher ranking, Bill’s name would come first: “Dear Bill and Sarah,”. 

5. Using Emojis

While emojis can be fun, they should be left off of professional emails. They can be interpreted in various ways and may come across as unprofessional.

6. Writing Long Emails

Keep your emails short and to the point. If your message requires more than two paragraphs, use bullet points to help the reader quickly grasp the key points.

7. Not Including a Proper Sign-Off

Every email should have a proper sign-off. Avoid ending with just “Thanks.” Instead, use something more formal like “Best regards” which is the most professional sign off in business. Signing off with “Sincerely” is reserved for social correspondence only.

8. Overusing Reply All / keeping someone on reply all

Use the “Reply All” button sparingly to avoid cluttering everyone’s inboxes with unnecessary emails. If someone has introduced you but is no longer relevant to the conversation, move their email to BCC. When you reply, you can say something like, “Thank you, Adrian, for the introduction. Moving you to BCC to spare you extra emails.”

9. Forgetting to Spell Check

Spelling and grammar errors can make a bad impression. Always proofread your emails before hitting send.

10. Not Using a Clear Call to Action

Ensure that your email has a clear purpose. Whether you’re requesting a meeting, a response, or sending information, make it obvious what you expect the recipient to do next. There should be at least one clear call to action point in every email. 

By avoiding these common mistakes, your business emails will be more effective and better received. Remember, the goal is to communicate clearly and professionally, respecting your recipient’s time and attention.