10 email etiquette rules for the modern gentleman 870x430

10 Email Etiquette Rules for the Modern Gentleman

Technology is a wonderful thing that makes life easier and transactions faster. Thanks to the internet, we can watch cat videos or access an immense wealth of knowledge at the click of a button. And since we can now tap into the wisdom of our ancestors from the comfort of our laptop, here’s some Latin for you: “Scripta manent”. Or else, the written word remains.

At Aristocracy London we don’t just make suits for the modern gentleman. We believe in being a gentleman. So here’s a brief guide on the email etiquette rules that you need to know in order to navigate digital communications with grace.

How to email like a gentleman

1. Pick the right medium
An email is appropriate when you need a record of what was discussed or when the recipient may need time for a thoughtful response. Emails are also great for sharing happy news, e.g. births and engagements.

2. Don’t mix business with pleasure
Never send work emails from your personal email address and vice versa. If you don’t have a professional email address, at least make sure that your personal one isn’t inappropriate. No one will read a business proposal from funkydude89.

3. Word your subject line carefully
People receive more emails than they care to read so they scan subject lines to decide what to prioritise. Keep your subject line short and informative and avoid classifying an email as confidential or urgent, unless it is.

4. Salutation
This is one of the etiquette rules that most people get wrong. If you’re not sure how to address someone, it means you don’t know them well enough so opt for polite and formal. This is particularly important with international business partners as, in some countries, informal equals rude.

5. Keep it to the point
People are unlikely to read a very long email or, worse, an endless chain of emails. Keep it brief and break up the text with sub-headings and bullet points. If an email exchange drags on and people lose track of action points, it’s time for a meeting.

6. It’s only funny if people laugh
It’s very easy to misconstrue the tone of someone’s email. What may seem funny to the writer can be interpreted as rude by the recipient and straightforward can be perceived as abrupt. Again, this becomes even more important when dealing with people from other cultures.

7. Proofread
“Shooting” an email sounds efficient but the recipient will have all the time in the world to read it, spot errors and judge you. So going back to “scripta manent”, check your email for grammar, spelling and accuracy of content. Retracting an email is the last resort of the desperate.

8. “Reply all” at your risk
Many a red-faced employee has had to admit to their line manager that they inadvertently sent an email to a bunch of people, including some who should have never seen the content. Before clicking on “reply all”, check who “all” are.

9. Respond to every email
We’re all busy but a gentleman replies to every single email that requires a response, even if it’s to acknowledge receipt and advise that he will action later. The same applies to emails that are addressed to you in error: a gentleman will always inform the sender of the mistake and offer to ignore.

10. Signature
All emails should be signed off but the type of signature depends on the circumstances. A simple first name will do in informal settings but, for formal business communications, set a proper signature with your title and contact details.

If you know someone who could do with some office etiquette advice, why not share these tips with them and encourage them to sign up to our newsletter for a regular dose of style and etiquette?