17 Email Greetings You Should Avoid

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How to start an email?

Writing an email is not as easy as it looks especially when you are writing to a person you hardly even know. Most people care about how you address them. If you make a mistake, that person will refuse to read your email and will have a bad opinion of you. What you write reflect you. Here are a list of greetings and salutations, and why you should avoid them:

  • “Hey!” This greeting is definitely not professional. Most probably, you do not know the person you are emailing, but you are making it sound that you do. You should avoid this greeting when you are at work.
  • “Hello,” is not bad, but a little informal especially when you do not know the person.
  • “Yo!” Are you kidding? This one is a big no! No further explanation needed.
  • “Greetings! ” This is another way of saying “Hi!” if you do not know the person’s name, but it is better to find out the person’s name.
  • “To whom it may concern, ” is acceptable but the other person might just think, well, this does not concern me, so why would I bother reading it? Know the person’s name and instead write, for example, Mr. Ford.
  • “Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms. [first name], ” is not appropriate in the professional world as it is like a child asking their teacher, “Mrs. Kate can you….”
  • “Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms. [last name], ” is not bad to use but it come off as formal and old-fashion. It also feels you are about to be reprimanded.
  • “Dear friend, ” means you are not really a friends with this person. Because if you are, you would not have used this greeting, and would have used the person’s name instead.
  • “Dear [Job Title], ” Just like “To whom it may concern”, it is generic. Find out the person’s name. Go the extra mile.
  • “Dear Ma’am, ” is generic and impersonal. The greeting gives the feel of being old and disrespected.
  • “Dear Sir or Madam” is too formal and it sounds like bad news followed by a complaint.
  • “ [Insert first name]! ” This is way too abrupt and annoying especially when there is an exclamation point after. It’s like someone is shouting your name out loud. It is better to say for example, “Hi, Jane.” or “Hi, Mrs. Brown.”
  • “Good morning/afternoon/evening” has to be skipped. You do not know the time of day the recipient will read his/her email. Take into consideration the different time zones.
  • “[misspelled name]!” is such a big no-no! Make sure you know the person’s name and how to spell it correctly. This is insulting for most people. Check their email addresses. Most of time, the name is reflected there.
  • “Gentlemen” is okay if you are really sure that the recipients are all male. What if there is a female, then this salutation is not appropriate. You can simply say, “Hi, everyone.”
  • “All, ” is too abrupt. If you are addressing a group, you can always use, “Hi, everyone.”
  • “Hi (nickname), ” should not be used unless the person introduced themselves to you using their nicknames. Do not assume that a William is a Will or a Willy. If you are not too sure, it is safe to use their full name.

Whether you know a person or not, the safest way to address someone is to use “ Hi [Insert first name], ”. If you need more tips on online etiquette, you can check out this article. You can also read more about email etiquette.

Email Etiquette

emailingEmails and real life conversations are two different worlds. One common practice in real life might not be necessary on emails. What should you do regarding emails? What is the proper approach? Here is a list of tips for you in order to construct that reply, and write that much needed email.

  • The general rule is you have to reply no matter what. Communication is key. You just have to click that reply button and acknowledge that you have received the email. If you are given an urgent task, reply to the sender that you got the email and start working on it. If you cannot do it within the day, explain on why that is the case and give a time estimate on when you will be able to complete the given task.
  • Prioritize the emails with action items. Before you go on acknowledging all the emails you got. Reply first to the emails that needs your immediate attention (e.g. you have to send a document file, confirm a meeting by giving out the restaurant reservation details, and so on.)
  • Yes, you have to acknowledge an email. Read first the contents because there might be exceptions to the rule. 1) The sender might have included an NTN (or No Thanks Needed!) Obviously, it means that you do not have to reply. 2) You are just on the CC line. That is why you have to read carefully. Only the people on the TO line will do this specific task unless, of course, if someone specifically asks you to join and help. When you are included on the CC line, this is just to keep you informed.
  • Attach the attachments. Sometimes, you are in a hurry to reply and send your email that you forgot that the attachment is still uploading. Make sure that the file you are attaching is actually included in the email you are sending. Do not forget to check if the attachments are 100% complete and that no file failed in the process.
  • Be clear with your answers. Yes, you should be concise with your replies, but you also have to be direct. Replying ‘Yes’ to a question is not enough. Repeat the questions you are answering (e.g. ‘Yes, the blue roses are great.’ or ‘Yes, we prefer the blue ones.’)
  • Make use of the subject line. The subject line is often neglected when in fact, it provides a summary of the email. Is the email for information purposes only or is it regarding a scheduling request? Be specific when writing a subject line (e.g. For Approval: Budget for August 2017, or FYI: New ID System.)

At the end of the day, it all depends on your work environment. These are just general guidelines to help you manage your emails. Every rule has exceptions of course! Some business keep their emails strictly for important matters and thank you emails are no-no. Some are encouraged to converse and chat. If you need more tips on online etiquette, you can check out this article.

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