Email etiquette is often one of the first things professionals overlook. When they’re busy, they don’t always pause to check their spelling or grammar or make sure they include a relevant subject line. Maybe you’re guilty of some common email faux pas, like using the wrong salutation or leaving off your contact info when addressing a prospect. Or maybe you send emails that would be better as a quick phone call.

Whatever email mistakes you may be making, the good news is that you can polish your communication by following some simple etiquette rules. Writer Sarah Goff Dupont shared some guidance on the Atlassian blog. We share her thoughts in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

1. Don’t get too wordy. Many people say they know they shouldn’t write too much, but then they go ahead and include multiple paragraphs in their emails. Goff Dupont says that no one will ever love your details as much as you do, so be discriminating about what you include.

2. Be upfront about your purpose. Your clients, prospects and colleagues should know why you are emailing them. Don’t make them wade through all your words to get to the point. Just like essays when you were in school, make your point clear and make it early, Goff Dupont says.

3. Always answer any questions. Another rule of good email etiquette is to carefully read the emails you receive so you can properly respond. If a prospect asks you three questions and you only address the first one, you’re not doing much to impress them. You have to listen to the other person, Goff Dupont says, and remember that good email writers are also good email readers.

4. Avoid being too casual. Professional emails should be just that — professional. Goff Dupont says that it comes off as presumptuous if you get too chatty right out of the gate or if you write someone and you assume they’re going to do what you’re asking. That person is under no obligation to do it, she says.

5. Respond promptly. It’s always good etiquette to reply to your emails in a timely fashion. This doesn’t mean you have to drop what you’re doing and address every request, but it’s helpful to at least let your clients and prospects know that you are working on their request or inquiry. If you don’t reply in a reasonable amount of time, they won’t know you’re tackling what they sent you, Goff Dupont says.

6. Proofread your emails. While your emails don’t need to be perfect, it’s worth checking them over for errors before pressing send. Goff Dupont says that mistakes — even small ones — can tarnish perceptions of your professionalism.

Email is one of the best ways to communicate with your clients, prospects and coworkers. You can make your emails stand out in the best way — and give your professionalism a boost — by following proper email etiquette.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Sarah Goff Dupont is a principal writer for Atlassian.