Email Etiquette: Point, Click, Send

Have you ever received an email that looks like this?

From:   Subject: I have a question.

That’s it! No real subject, no real question, and no name.

As part of the FLVS family, you know that email is not only a part of your daily life, but it’s an integral part of your education. Our teachers, principals, counselors, and family members communicate by email every single day. Are your emails professional, clear, and concise? 

We often teach people how to answer the phone politely or how to shake hands with a potential employer, but we don’t teach the same etiquette with other forms of communication. It is important to take the time to make sure our email communication is just as friendly and inviting as our voice on the phone or in person.

Here are a few tips on how your quick message can be turned into a well-received form of communication.

Include the subject line

Do not leave this blank. Think of a few words that get your message across. If you are emailing your teacher about a question on an assignment, your subject could be “Questions on Module 4.” If you are emailing your school counselor about SAT information, your subject could be “SAT Information Needed.” Avoid using words like emergency or urgent in your subject line in most cases.

Use a proper greeting

Include the name of the person to whom you are writing the email. It will make it more personal and the recipient will know the message is directed to them. You might say “Hi Ms. Smith” or “Greetings Mr. Li.” This is especially important if there are multiple people included on an email. For bonus points, you could start out the body of your email with “I hope all is well” or “Thanks so much for talking with me the other day.” Think of this like a virtual smile! A kind word can go a long way.

Keep your message clear and concise

When writing an email, be sure to attack it like any piece of writing. You want to make sure it is organized and to the point! Do not use texting language within your email like “LOL” or “PLZ” or “TTYL.” Be sure to check your spelling and grammar before clicking send.

Don’t forget your closing

There is nothing worse than getting an email that has no name on it! Be sure to include your full legal name on your emails so that the person who is receiving it knows who it is coming from and how best to help you! An easy “Thank you, Jon Smith” or “Sincerely, Susie Que” will do the job!

Here are a few more tips:

  • Respond in a timely manner! A good rule of thumb is to check your email daily so you are responding within 24-48 hours.
  • Show gratitude for the recipient’s time and assistance in your closing. Ex: “Thanks in advance” or “I appreciate your input”
  • Never email when you are angry or upset. It is always best to wait until you have calmed down and thought through the situation before responding to a tough email.
  • Make sure your email address is a professional one. An easy idea is to put your name in your email address. For example,

If you employ these few easy steps in your emails, you will find that the response back will be more informative and helpful. Your kind and polite style may also make someone’s day!

Anne FlennerAnne Flenner, School Counselor, has worked to meet the academic, social, personal, and professional needs of FLVS students since 2011. Previously a school counselor in Alachua County, she has received several awards and serves on multiple state counseling boards and committees. She has a Master's degree in Counselor Education from UF. Anne loves working with student athletes, supporting college and career readiness, and focusing on student mental health and wellness.

2 comments on “Email Etiquette: Point, Click, Send

  1. Sandy Knight Shedden

    Great advice!! I wholeheartedly agree and appreciated the reminders. I like the “ Think of it as a virtual smile “ suggestion..

    Thanks Anne!!!:) sandy

  2. Debbie Borowski

    I definitely agree! I never really thought of telling my kids that. I’ve harped on looking people in the eye and speaking clearly. Good article!


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