Professional Etiquettes

Here is a short guide of things you should be doing in a successful collaboration or professional job

E-mail Etiquette by Professor Dominique Elliott


  • #1: e-mail NEVER goes away: Once you hit the Send key, your e-mail is there for all humanity to see… until the end of times.

  • #2: It can be very hard to judge the tone of an e-mail.You need to be much more careful than in oral communication, not less.

  • #3: chances are it may be forwarded to someone it was not intended for.

Email formatting

  • Write a clear subject line

  • Write a salutation, even on replies

  • Keep it brief

  • Don’t text message

  • Bullet your main points or action items when appropriate


  • Always respond

  • Respond quickly

  • Take time to proofread (punctuation, grammar, spelling)

  • Consolidate your e-mails. Don’t e-mail someone 4 times an hour.

Think about the questions you need answers to.


  • Use emoticons only if you feel it clarifies tone, in a professional manner. Not advisable to a superior.

  • Avoid discussing private matters/issues.

  • Remain positive in your tone.

  • Do not blame others.


Always double-check your tone. The difference between:

“ If you ever get this project done….”


“ When you get the project done…”

Bottom line: Before you hit send, ask yourself if you would speak the same way in person.

If you are on the receiving line of an aggressive e-mail, breathe, stay polite and diffuse the situation. Try to move the conversation to another forum.

“I’m sorry you feel this way. Perhaps we could discuss it in person (or over the phone).”

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