Expert Tips On Mastering Email Etiquette


Oct. 27 2023, Published 11:14 a.m. ET

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Lisa Lloyd, an award-winning communications leader with more than 15 years of experience in the field, joined Her Agenda on Instagram Live Oct. 20 for a workshop, offering the tools women professionals can use to master email etiquette and transform their communication style.

In her role, she supports colleagues and more than 130 clients by sharing best practices for the way you communicate in order to increase your influence, credibility, and professionalism, which can lead to career advancement. Effective communication is especially important for ambitious leaders who want to motivate teams and build great reputations for results.

Here are a few more highlights from the session:

On The Power Of Subject Lines:

“You’re looking at about 140 emails a day. Before I click on the email, I need to know what you expect from me, or I’m not going to open it. … [Provide] an action or request, [then] semi-colon, and then you say what it is that you’re requesting. An example would be, ‘Action: Submit Days For PTO.’ As soon as I get that email, in the list of 90 emails I’m receiving, I know there is something for me to do in your email.

On The Basics of ‘To,’ ‘BCC,’ and ‘CC’:

“The ‘to’ field is for the person you are speaking to—the person who needs to do something with that information. The ‘cc’ field is for people who may need to be consulted or informed, but there’s no action required. If I’m in the ‘cc’ field, I may read it but I dont’ have anything to do. I’m not accountable for anything, I’m not responsible for anything, they’re just keeping me in the loop.

The ‘blind copy’ field… There are a couple of ways to use that… What ‘bcc’ is for, typically, is when you have very long email lists. If you want to send an email to 200 parents— if you work at a school— if you want to send it to a listserv to your subscribers, you want to use ‘bcc’ so that you are not revealing people’s personal email addresses to strangers.

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On Using RACI and MOCA Frameworks Helpful Resources:

“RACI and MOCA are project management frameworks, and basically they give everyone a role. Both are acronyms: R is for responsible, A is for Accountable, C is for consulted, I is for informed.

There’s another version that’s called the MOCHA … That is for manager, owner, consultant, helper, and approver. These project framework terms are critical when you’re trying to figure out who needs to be involved in an email thread–email chain–and what their role is.

On Knowing Your Audience And Determining Tone:

“With internal and unfamiliar people that you are emailing, stay formal, stay introductory, be concise, and no shorthand. When I say formal, I mean, [state] ‘Good morning,’ ‘Good afternoon,’ ‘Hi, ‘How are you?’… Introduce yourself. Who are you? Why are you emailing them? What is your role?

You want to introduce yourself. What project do you have affiliated with them? Why are emailing them? You want to be concise, because you don’t have a relationshi with them so they cannot read your tone because they don’t know you.

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[For] informal and familiar, you know them, you have a rapport with them. You can be formal or informal. Trust your gut… You want to be empathetic to someone you know. You want to include something personal. Make a connection from the last time you spoke with them. In those emails you have more opportunity to display your personality.”

“When you are communicating over email, keep it formal with external clients. … You want to be mindful of titles, positions and background with external clients. You want to be really careful with that because if they’re a doctor, [and] you don’t say ‘Doctor,’ or you get their title wrong, or their level wrong, it can go left really quickly. So, when you’re talking to an external client—remember an external client is paying you or your company—you don’t want any confusion. Just keep it formal and stay on the formal side.

Check out more tips and strategies by watching the full session above. Follow Lisa Lloyd @istudypeople on Instagram or find out more about her via her website.

If you would like to access more exclusive Her Agenda content, become a Her Agenda INSIDER today!

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