• Lionel Cheng

I Wish I Knew About Email Etiquette

We all use slang and emotes when we text our friends and family. Maybe you have gotten used to being informal with your professors as well.

It’s self-explanatory that in the professional world, it is expected to use proper grammar and utilize formal writing. That isn’t the hard part, the hard part is formatting an email that is easy to read and understandable.

When I say easy to read, I don’t mean bad grammar. You write emails in a very specific way in the corporate world.

Before I dive into this, let me tell you a story of how I learned the importance of email etiquette the hard way.

I’m currently an analyst for mergers and acquisitions at one of OMERs’ portfolio companies, Teranet(legit no difference between OMERs and Teranet). In my line work, we deal with a lot of people from our executive team, our shareholders, investment bankers and management from our acquisition targets. In other words, we work crazy hours and receive thousands of emails every week (the most emails I’ve gotten in a single day was 100 :P ).

During my first week, I sent a badly written email to my Director and Vice President to brief them on our current acquisition deal flow.

Safe to say, they were not impressed with my email because the reply from my Vice President was “im confused”.

My senior analyst called over Teams and told me that they were beyond embarrassed because this made them look bad and was a poor representation of me. During my call with my senior analyst, I learned that email etiquette is important in the business world because this creates the first impression.

This first impression is heavily important because it sets the tone of the relationship that will be developed.

In my call with my analyst, I summarized 3 key points that I think will benefit students in school or when they work.

  1. Formal greeting: Be formal and introduce yourself before heading to the context

  2. Ex: Hello Mike, I hope all is well. My name is Lionel and I am a co-op student from Wilfrid Laurier.

  3. Straight to the point: In academic writing, we were taught to meet word counts and to sound fancy. Unfortunately in the professional world, especially in finance, people don’t have the time to deal with wordiness and they want stuff that is straight to the point.

  4. Ex: Single‐family authorizations in September were at a rate of 1,041,000; this is 0.9 percent (±0.8 percent) below the revised August figure of 1,050,000.

  5. If you’re asked to do something, restate the “ask”:

  6. Ex: As requested, I provided the historic cash flow statements and made projections for the next 5 years.

These 3 points will prevent any miscommunication and will create a good first impression. You can use this for school, in your professional career, or in networking emails.

I hope this helps!


About the Author


Lionel Cheng is a campus ambassador with LEAP. He is currently a fall analyst at Teranet for Mergers and Acquisitions. Lionel is a big


Toronto Raptors fan and was very disappointed in their performance last season. After having a hard time in his first year, Lionel wants to help students to avoid mistakes he had made so that they can have an amazing first-year experience.


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