Email best practice

When to use:


When sending to a group of people

Keeping everyone in the loop but expecting an reply from one person:

To: Jim
CC: The rest
Dear Jim,

When asking for everyone to comment:

To: All
Hi Everyone,

When to use BCC

Use BBC very sparingly unless you are sending a newsletter or other massed email. BBC will be hide all email addresses.


Keep the Subject very brief but informative. The recipient should be able to distinguish your email from all others by the subject line - think of keywords and/or searchable terms.


  • Keep to the point. Make your most important point or ask first. Explanations can follow.
  • Only discuss one subject per email.
    • Example: Here are the meeting notes from yesterday's meeting...

    • Example of what not to do: Here are the meeting notes from yesterday's meeting.... Also, please be informed that Maria's graduation is on Thursday. Let me know if you are planning to attend.

      The second sentence about Maria's graduation should be in an separate email.

  • Use language that makes your point and action clear.
    • Example: If you can meet on Monday, let me know. If not, suggest 3 alternative dates.


Writing is very different than speaking on the phone or in person.

  • If you are upset, be very careful not to let it show. Leave it until you are calm. Use very professional, unemotional language and avoid adjectives and adverbs.
  • If you are discussing negative views about a person, consider using the phone. Written words may be interpreted by the reader quite differently than you intended.
  • On the other hand, email is great for complimenting someone or praising those who may have made an event successful, etc.

Reply All

Use reply all only when your response concerns everyone.

  • If you don't expect some form of action from everyone, it is a good indication that only the person who sent the email needs your reply.

Use a salutation and a signature

Addressing a particular person helps the reader know if the message is directed to them, to the group, or someone else. This takes away the confusion about whether or not the reader has to reply.

The signature is a professional and informative way of making sure the reader knows exactly who the email is coming from and how to contact the sender.

Dear John,

Blah, blah, blah.

Joseph Smith, Managing Director of Some Company

Before Sending

Proof read and use your spell-checker