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Top Ten Worst Practices for Email: Part II

Hover on September 3, 2013
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Last week, we started a list of the most irritating email offenses! Do unprofessional email addresses like make you cringe? Or, is it worse to field your way through a message full of spelling mistakes?

Check out our list of email pet peeves and add your own in the comments below:

6. You write too much

Not only do lengthy emails take a long time to read, but they also make it difficult for the reader to understand what information is important. Plus, long emails are extra challenging to read on a smartphone.

There should be a clear purpose to your email and it should be structured in a way that is easy to read. Short paragraphs and bulleted lists are great ways to highlight requests and to separate important parts of the message from one another. As a rule, try to be as concise as possible!

7. You write like you text message

It may be okay to write more casually between friends and coworkers, but professional correspondence should be treated like formal letters. Be courteous by remembering to say “hello” and “goodbye” with appropriate salutations and a signature that includes your name and contact information.

Emoticons and acronyms (LOL, TTYL, FTW) should never appear in your business emails and should pretty much always be used sparingly otherwise. Exclamation points should also be limited :)!


Capitalization should only be used when necessary, like at the beginning of sentences or for proper nouns. When communicating online, writing in capital letters IS LIKE SHOUTING. Instead, try using asterisks or a bold font to highlight the important words.


9. You don’t reply

There are some circumstances where you don’t have to respond to an email, like replying to a “Thank You” email to say thank you for the thank you. When someone is expecting a response to his or her message, however, it’s best to send your reply in a timely fashion. Depending on the urgency of the email, a response time of about one or two days is acceptable!

10. You email when you should be talking

Emails are limited to words and characters, leaving them extremely open to interpretation. It’s easy for the tone of your message to be misconstrued by the recipient. Reading your email to yourself aloud can help ensure that the message will not come across impolite or aggressive.

Although it may be tempting to use email to deliver an uncomfortable message, some conversations are simply best left for face-to-face discussion! Email may not be the right correspondence for discussing a complicated matter that is likely to spur a lot of questions and negotiation. Also, it is often more appropriate to use a different method of communication when confrontation is brewing or when delivering bad news.