Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid While Writing Professional Emails

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Email is a very important mode of communication, especially in the professional world. In an office, one may be sending and receiving hundreds of emails in a week or sometimes even in a day.

Though one may think that writing email is not a rocket science, but even a most experienced person can commit some serious mistakes while sending an email.

Let us look at some common mistakes that one should be very careful about while sending an email.

#1 Sending Email Without a Subject Line

I am sure this mistake most of us must have committed at least once. While in a hurry to send the email, we simply compose the email and without reviewing just press the send button, only to realize later that we have missed the subject line.
This gives a very bad impression to the receiver, and sometimes even your email can just be ignored as it has not subject line.
As a best practice (which I always follow) before composing the email body, always write the subject line first and write the email body, and avoid this mistake to be committed again in future.

#2 Sending Email to the Wrong Recipient

Wrong recipient can be added to the email accidentally, especially when technology provides you the auto-fill, predictive text, auto-suggestion features. Also in the office, this mistake is quite possible, in case two people having similar names. Sending an email to the wrong person can put you in an awkward situation, especially when dealing with confidential information.
To avoid this situation, give an extra minute and always review your recipient list. In case of people with similar names, check their other details like the location, department and identify the correct recipient.

#3 Forgetting to attach the File as an Attachment

This is again a very common mistake that people commit while sending emails. You mention about an attachment in the email body, and in a hurry, just miss to add that attachment. This mistake can put you in a bad light and show your carelessness.
Hence, it is very important to review the email first, check if the attachment is attached and then press the send button. Reviewing an email, may just take a few extra minutes, but will save you from the embarrassment that you may face later.

#4 Sending Email with Wrong Salutation

Sometimes, we may not understand whether the recipient is a male or a female. As a practice, we just use “Dear Sir” in most of our emails. Sending email with a wrong salutation (especially to clients and senior management), gives a very bad impression to the reader.
Hence, when you are unsure about the gender of the recipient, it is always better to use “Dear Sir/Madam”.

#5 Spelling Mistakes in the Email

Spelling mistakes (typos) can happen while typing an email. But, in professional emails, such mistakes cannot be ignored, especially when your wrong spelling may give a completely wrong meaning. It gives a complete unprofessional image about you, and people may not take your email seriously.
Hence, it is very important to review your email, and run a spellcheck, before sending. This saves you from committing such silly mistakes.

Use tools like Grammarly, which are available free on Internet and proof-check your email. It will help you correct all the spelling and grammatical mistakes in no time.

#6 You hit “Reply to all”, instead of just “Reply”

“Reply to all” is a very critical button, one should use it very carefully. You may accidentally share the information or message to unwanted recipients that may be present in the original email.
To avoid this mistake, always review, your recipients list before sending the email.

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One of the best books to recommend to your team to let them the dos and dont’s of writing professional email.

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#7 Using your Signature Repeatedly in Email Threads

It is a good email etiquette to use a professional signature in the emails. But one should also know the proper usage and placement of the email signatures. Especially, when replying to email threads, there is no need to place your complete signature; your reply will unnecessarily become lengthy and the reader will also get irritated to see the signature again and again with every reply in the same thread. At such times, a simple Regards with the name is sufficient.

#8 Change the Email Subject While Replying to an Email Thread

Yes, this is also a mistake that people commit, not realizing it as a mistake. Changing the subject of an ongoing communication, will result in a complete loss of the original topic of discussion. People will get confused with the context and start discussing on altogether a new subject.
Also, some people have the habit of picking up some old email, change the subject and start a new communication. This is a very wrong practice in the professional world. Always compose a new email, with a new subject line to start a fresh communication.

#9 Sending a Large Attachment

Sometimes people just attach a file and send it to the recipients without checking the size of the attachment, only to realize later that they have jammed the entire network.
Hence, to avoid this crime, always check the size of the file before attaching. Try to compress the files before attaching to the email, to further reduce the size of the attachment.

#10 Using the Chat Abbreviations/Emoticons/Informal language in Emails

We all are so used to using abbreviations and emoticons, that sometimes, we even use them while writing professional emails. For example, using ‘r’ for ‘are’, ‘u’ for ‘you’, ‘ppt’ for presentation, ‘2moro’ for ‘tomorrow’ etc., is something that should be completely avoided in the emails. Spell out the complete word and avoid using smileys in professional emails.

There is an interesting book that i came across which has helped me realize things that i have being doing wrong while writing emails. Hope this book may be useful to you too.

This invaluable guide offers step-by-step pointers that readers can put into practice right away. The highlight of the book is a series of 10 model email templates, covering scenarios like requests for information, conveying bad news, complaints and sales prospecting. These are explained and analysed to show what makes them simple yet effective.


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