So many emails. I don’t think I know anybody who doesn’t complain about having to plough through so many emails every day. And the hassle that comes with it. The misunderstandings, the frustration if you don’t get a reply.

I gathered some handy tips to deal with your emails. Ten to be precise.



Tip 1 Make sure you have a clear subject line
Often people decide whether to open an email based on the subject line. The chances are big your mail won’t be read if this subject line isn’t clear. Chose something that clarifies your email:

  • asking for feedback on your text
  • new date for meeting
  • quick question about presentation

Tip 2 Be careful with ‘reply to all’
You probably know what I mean, you receive so many emails in your inbox, however they are meant for one particular person but the ‘reply to all’ button was used. Don’t do it, only if the email has specific relevance for everybody.

Tip 3 Use a professional email address
To send an email to a foreign professor with an email address like ‘sweetshop@…’ or ‘rammsteinfan@…’. Don’t do it! It is not at all professional. Make sure you have a professional address or use the email address of the University you are working for.

Tip 4 Be careful using exclamation marks
Don’t use exclamation marks; rather use them sparsely. Exclamation marks can have a emotional or immature sense, something you want to avoid as a researcher.

Tip 5 Be careful using humour
Humour in emails doesn’t go far because you lack the intonation and facial expressions. Written text has a different impact than spoken words. Also, what you think might be funny, is maybe not regarded  funny by somebody else.

Tip 6 Fill in the email address as the final step
Maybe it has happened to you, you pressed the send button unintentionally. Simple remedy: fill in the email address as the last step before sending.  So if you reply to an email, first delete the address and fill it in later. Nothing can go wrong.

Tip 7 Never email if you feel emotional
If you are feeling emotional – angry, sad, frustrated, whatever – don’t send any emails. Wait till you have calmed down. Whatever you will write in your emotional state will probably do more harm than good and can cause (unnecessary) distress.

Tip 8 Reread your email before pushing the send button
Your reader will notice every error in your email. And – depending on who your reader is – you will be judged. Definitely something to avoid. Don’t always trust your spelling checker, it won’t give you 100% certainty of not having any errors in your text.

Tip 9 Nothing is confidential, so be careful what you write
Every electronic message leaves a trace. And you will never know where your message might end up. So don’t take any risks, write nothing in an email that you won’t others to see.

Tip 10 Double check you are sending your email to the right person
In many mail systems names are automatically filled in once you start typing. Very easy to make a mistake. Before you know it, you are sending your mail to the wrong person which can be awkward for the receiver and for you.


Do you have any more tips? Share them in the comments so others can benefit as well.

And do you want some more tips on how to manage your inbox? Read this blog. It will certainly help you to control the amount of emails in your inbox and I can tell you that that feels so much better.

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