In today’s day and age, sending an email is second nature—whether you’re a corporate queen, entrepreneur or side hustler.

Throughout your day, you are subconsciously reading and replying to hundreds of emails, but have you ever stopped to consider if you’re even approaching these emails correctly? Are you using the proper language? Are you addressing the person you’re talking to by their last name? Does your email contain a subject line? These are just a few questions you should be asking yourself and making sure you’re checking off your list before hitting that “reply” button.

However—many of us don’t realize how often we make embarrassing and costly errors when sending emails. No one wants to tarnish their professional reputation by not following proper email etiquette. Here are seven tips for formulating the perfect email.

Formulating the Perfect Email

Include a clear and concise subject line

Your subject line sets the basis for your email. It allows your recipient to grasp an idea of what your message will entail—especially if your recipient receives hundreds of emails each day, you want to make sure yours stands out to them so you get your reply in timely manner.

Briefly introduce yourself

If you are sending a new email for the first time to someone you have never emailed or reached out to, introduce yourself. It’s only right that you allow the person you are wanting to connect with know a little bit more about you, and why you’re deciding to reach out to them in the first place. Besides, no one wants to feel like they are being used, so make sure you introduce yourself to start the basis of forming that relationship outside of the Internet.

Use a professional email address

How embarrassing would it be to send your executive director an email with the address, “!” As a professional working for a professional company, you want to always use your professional email address. Using your personal email address isn’t always the best tactic—especially if your handle is a bit outdated or unprofessional.

Include a signature

Your signature tells your recipient exactly who you are and how to directly contact you. Set your signature up automatically so it appears after each email you send. Make sure to include all of your contact information (email address, phone number, LinkedIn profile), so your recipient doesn’t have a hard time connecting with you.

Use professional salutations

Colloquial language and emails just don’t mix. Using the words “Yo” “Heyyy” or “What’s Up” are neither professional or formal and should not be used when sending professional emails. Regardless of how well you may know the recipient, it is always best to use a more formal choice of words such as ,”Hello” or “Hi.”

Proofread your email

Proofreading your email is absolute key. No one likes reading emails with typos and misspellings in them—it shows you do not care and you didn’t take the time to actually read your own email before sending it, so why should they waste their time reading it. Always check your spelling and grammar before hitting send.

Respond in a timely manner

It’s OK to wait to respond to an email if you feel you don’t have the best answer or all of the information for the proper response just yet, however it’s inappropriate to respond out of a timely manner. If you receive an email (unless you are out of office), you shouldn’t wait any more than two hours to respond to the email. Responding within a timely manner shows that you care, and you are aware about whatever it is the recipient has sent to you.

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