Sending The Professional E-Mail

Etiquette tips to help you craft e-mail messages that don't tarnish your good image
2 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Can you remember a time when you didn't use e-mail to get things done? How did we manage our businesses for so long without it? With the rapid adoption of e-mail as a major means of business communication, somewhere along the way Internet etiquette or "netiquette" got lost.

Here are a few quick tips for making your professional e-mail count:

  • Keep it short. Put your main point or question at the top of the e-mail, then add no more than two brief, supporting paragraphs. If the recipient has to scroll through more than once to read your e-mail, it's probably too long.
  • Include references. If you're responding to someone's e-mail, include an excerpt of their e-mail. Only insert the parts of their e-mail that you're directly responding to so they can see what you're referencing in your response. Don't include their entire e-mail in your reply if possible.
  • Compose relevant subjects. The subject heading of the e-mail you send can be the key to getting your e-mail read quickly and understood immediately. Try to create a subject for your e-mail that says it all in six words. As you begin to e-mail back and forth with someone else, alter your subject to reference the contents of your e-mail if it begins to change from the original subject.

These simple e-mail tips work for both business and personal electronic correspondence. Remember: Clarity is the key.

Aliza Sherman is an entrepreneur and author of Cybergrrl: A Woman's Guide to the World Wide Web (Ballantine Books). She is currently working on her next book and new company.

More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Create your business plan in half the time with twice the impact using Entrepreneur's BIZ PLANNING PLUS powered by LivePlan. Try risk free for 60 days.

Latest on Entrepreneur