We all get a lot of email. If you want someone to respond quickly, don’t write a note that requires more than a few seconds to read. Yet some simple techniques can help massively improve your ability to get people to take action on your important emails. And they will appreciate it, too.


 Common reasons why people don’t reply email.

  • Waiting on someone else to get more information and then reply.
  • Too busy to reply.
  • Forgetting to reply the mail.
  • Deleted the email accidentally in their mobile.
  • Can’t be bothered to reply.
  • The mail you sent went to their junk email so didn’t get them.
  • If there’s more than one person in the email TO line, each person might assume that the other might reply.
  • Doesn’t know the other person is waiting for a reply.

 So, it’s important to keep these in mind when writing your email.


 What are the etiquette rules?

There are many etiquette guides and many different etiquette rules. Some rules will differ according to the nature of your business and the corporate culture. Below we list what we consider as the 32 most important email etiquette rules that apply to nearly all companies.

32 most important email etiquette tips:

1. Be concise and to the point

2. Answer all questions, and pre-empt further questions

3. Use proper spelling, grammar & punctuation

4. Make it personal

5. Use templates for frequently used responses

6.  Answer swiftly

7. Do not attach unnecessary files

8. Use proper structure & layout

9. Do not overuse the high priority option

10. Do not write in CAPITALS

11. Don’t leave out the message thread

12. Add disclaimers to your emails

13. Read the email before you send it

14. Do not overuse Reply to All

15. Mailings > use the bcc: field or do a mail merge

16. Take care with abbreviations and emoticons

17. Be careful with formatting

18. Take care with rich text and HTML messages

19. Do not forward chain letters

20. Do not request delivery and read receipts

21. Do not ask to recall a message. 

22. Do not copy a message or attachment without permission

23. Do not use email to discuss confidential information

24. Use a meaningful subject

25. Use active instead of passive

26. Avoid using URGENT and IMPORTANT 
too often.

27. Avoid long sentences

28. Don’t send or forward emails containing libelous, defamatory, offensive, racist or obscene remarks

29. Don’t forward virus hoaxes and chain letters

30. Keep your language gender neutral

31. Don’t reply to spam

32. Use cc: field sparingly


 Use a subject line strategically. 

In e-mail, use the subject line to identify yourself, a specific subject, or benefits that are relevant to the reader. Think about a subject line that will distinguish your message from the avalanche of e-mails this person receives.


The average corporate user receives and sends 112 emails per day.



 Pay Attention to Detail.

Take the time and make the effort to ensure you are spelling your contact’s names correctly.


 Write shorter emails – Bottom line up front.

People don’t read e-mails, they skim. So don’t write an eight-sentence paragraph in one chunk. Remember the two-minute rule. If it takes longer than two minutes for the recipient to read your message, it will likely get set aside. In fact, they may never get back to it! If you want faster responses, then make it easy on the reader to respond.

Here are some guidelines:

  • More than six lines? Split it up.
  • Important information? Make it a one-line paragraph.
  • Multiple pieces of important information? Make a quick bulleted list.


 Proofread and spell check. 

Read the email over a few times to make sure everything is right.


 Lose the emoticons.

Likewise, most business email shouldn’t have little smileys in them. They make you look goofy and unprofessional.


 End with an action request.

This way the other person knows that you are waiting for a reply. Here are some examples, what’s your opinion on this? Do you think …… ?  Otherwise, nothing is likely to happen.



Some people do not reply because they receive too much mail.



 Tell them if your request is urgent or time-sensitive.

 If you tell them it is urgent, they will try to comply. But—and be warned—if you do this too often, they will start ignoring you. If a request is time-sensitive but not urgent, state exactly when you need it.


  Write down a deadline.

A deadline creates a sense of urgency, and most people hate to miss deadlines!


 Close with a valediction. 

Ending your message without a valediction and your name makes you seem brusque. Close with “Sincerely _____,” or “Best __________.”


 Do not request delivery and read receipts.

This will almost always annoy your recipient before he or she has even read your message. Besides, it usually does not work anyway since the recipient could have blocked that function, or his/her software might not support it, so what is the use of using it? If you want to know whether an email was received it is better to ask the recipient to let you know if it was received.


What’s a good way to remind someone to reply to your email without sounding too annoying? What makes you not want to respond to someone? What kind of tricks do you use for getting people to respond? Post them in the comments.


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Myriam Balerio is the founder and writer of PA Privé. After kick starting her career as a PA and finding success as an assistant, Myriam later trained in digital and online marketing and has since combined the two disciplines in creating PA Privé, the platform through which she provides sage advice for those in the assistant profession and a network for like-mined PAs and EAs to connect. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Myriam has lived in London for over 10 years and currently lives in London with her husband and French bulldog.


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