The Dummies’ Guide to Email Etiquette

Most of us are aware of the fact that online communication can cause a lot of misunderstandings. Today we use email a lot more than a few years ago. It has become a daily activity and yet many of us are still working to perfect. Before hitting the “send” button, make sure your e-mail etiquette is in check.

Here are a few simple rules you can follow:

  • Include a clear and specific subject line: This can increase the effectiveness of your message and make you appear more professional. This avoids people ignoring your email, also it makes it easy to find again.
  • Edit any quoted text down to the minimum: Ff your message is short, people will be more likely to read it.
  • Read your own message three times before you send it.
  • Think about how your recipient might react to your message.
  • Check spelling and grammar – you do not want to appear like a scammer.
  • Do not curse, flame, spam or USE ALL CAPS.
  • Do not forward chain letters, virus warnings or junk mail.
  • Do not use e-mail for any illegal or unethical purpose.
  • Do not rely on the privacy of e-mail, especially from work.
  • When in doubt, save your message overnight and reread it the next day.
  • Do not send things to people you don’t wish to receive.
  • Use blind copy (BC) and courtesy copy (CC) appropriately.
    CC only people who are directly concerned. Do not use BCC to conceal from others who you copied. Use BCC when sending to a large amount of contacts – recipients then won’t have to see a huge list of names.
  • Limit large file size attachments: Rather create a zipped folder or to use a file sharing website (like Dropbox, Copy, We Transfer, etc.) to send bigger files. A big attachment might fill up your recipient’s inbox and block it from receiving other mail.
  • Use an email signature that includes contact information: To ensure that people know who you are, include your name, email address, website and phone number.
  • Be professional in your tone: Do not use emoticons in business, rather use words like “thank you” and “please”. A touch of humor in the tone of an e-mail is fine, but make sure to maintain professionalism.
  • Respect the time of others: Do not expect to receive an email back immediately. If you need a more immediate response, make a phone call.

In order to make e-mail effective, pause and think before you hit “send.” Your written communication says a lot about you, so make sure you keep practising proper email etiquette.

What can you add to this list? We would love to hear from you!