4 Simple Rules for Proper E-mail Etiquette

Follow these guidelines to prevent e-mail faux pas from leaving your mailbox.

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What are appropriate ways to begin and end work-related e-mails? Save “Hi” for colleagues and work acquaintances. New clients should be greeted with “Hello” or “Dear,” followed by “Mr.” or “Ms.” (or a professional title) and the person’s surname. “The addressee won’t notice the word hello as much as the respect factor,” says Diane Gottsman, etiquette expert and owner of the Protocol School of Texas. To close the e-mail, you can’t go wrong with “Sincerely,” “Best” or “Kind regards,” whereas “Cheers” may come off as too jaunty. You can drop formal greetings as the e-mail conversation continues; take your cue from your recipient as to when to use first names.

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Miriam Cross
Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Miriam lived in Toronto, Canada, before joining Kiplinger's Personal Finance in November 2012. Prior to that, she freelanced as a fact-checker for several Canadian publications, including Reader's Digest Canada, Style at Home and Air Canada's enRoute. She received a BA from the University of Toronto with a major in English literature and completed a certificate in Magazine and Web Publishing at Ryerson University.