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Email etiquette: A recipe for success

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

A lot goes on, from classes to homework to friends and events. So many things to do and learn during college - right? I will share in this 3 part series a few things that I learned at an event here at the college called "Keep Calm and Study On." Today I'm focusing on email etiquette- a recipe for success. Alright, yesterday might have been the last day of summer, but that doesn't mean we can't dive into a delicious summertime treat like Smore. Writing an email is like making the perfect smore treat. Stay with me here. As an associate professor of education, I get many emails daily. My inbox goal for the end of the week is 0, but I barely get there.

An email is a professional correspondence between a student or a few students to me. Knowing how to write and what to include in an email will help carry you into your professional career. When scanning through my email - I look for a few ingredients to prioritize my inbox. Your email should be like a yummy smore!

Let's break it down:

  • Bottom Graham cracker: Subject line. At a glance, I can see who the email is from and what it is about in the subject line. Have a clear and concise subject line. Here is an example of a clear subject line: EDUC 204 A digital portfolio question (it lists the name of the class and what the problem or question will be about). Never leave the subject line blank!

  • Chocolate bar: Addressing the recipient professionally. When I open the email, I look at the greeting. Friends, don't just write "Hey, hi, etc.). Again, remember you are writing a professional email, so be a professional! Key ingredient #2 is to address the individual respectfully. I am respectfully addressing the recipient. Meaning, write Hi or Hello Dear Dr., Mrs., Mr., Miss, etc.

  • Marshmallow: Clear content. The marshmallow is the gooey part that keeps the smore together. So your email contents should be clear about what you have to say or question you have to ask. Include any attachments (if you mention any) and double-check your spelling and grammar. In addition, be mindful of the purpose of the email. Are you sending the email to inform, ask a question or clarification, or engage in conversation? Remember your purpose as you compose your email.

  • Top Graham Cracker: Signature is a must-have. Don't forget to sign your first and last name. You may also want to include some information in your signature, such as graduation year, major, pronouns, and maybe an inspirational quote. You can create an excellent picture in signature using Canva.

  • How to add a signature in Outlook

  • How to add a signature in Gmail

Just a few sprinkles before you click send on the email.

  • You can't respond to an email if you don't read it. So, please read the email and read it over carefully. Respond to the email in a thoughtful and timely manner.

  • Double-check your grammar and spelling. Read through your email before clicking send. Draft your email before you click send so you can read it first.

  • Schedule to send later. If you are composing an email after 10 pm, you can schedule it to go out in the morning or afternoon the next day.

  • Think about the tone you use when writing your email and avoid using all caps, writing like you would a text, and using complete sentences and proper punctuation.

  • My mom told me, "Never leave a situation angry." This advice also applies to emails. Do not send an email when angry or upset. Take a breath, think about the purpose of the email, and then send it.

  • You may or may not get an immediate response from your professor, so please be patient and wait 36 hours before sending another message.

Happy Emailing, friends!

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