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E-Mail Netiquette


A request came in recently to once again remind readers of the importance of proper e-mail etiquette. The reader was particularly taken aback by a person who seemed insistent on violating as many rules of proper e-mailing etiquette as they could! Yes, the practice of using e-mail does have rules, and the way you write your e-mails does affect your professional persona and the way people think about you in the workplace-especially when e-mailing someone for the first time.{{more}} Here are some pointers to help you:

E-mail addresses should sound professional. Addresses like “” or “” are not appropriate! Usually, your name or some abbreviations of your name or company name or position are sufficient.

Use a subject line that is appropriate to the content and conveys enough of the message to identify it in a spam folder or junk mail file.

DO NOT TYPE IN CAPITAL LETTERS, as doing so is considered to be yelling in cyber language.

Write in a professional manner. The message should be appropriate in such a way that if the document were to be made public it would not be embarrassing to you or your company. Messages need to be precise, grammatically correct, and void of “emoticons” and smiley faces, excessive exclamation marks, and text-messaging abbreviations.

Proofread your content. Granted, we all make mistakes, but some errors are obvious and could be eliminated if only the writer took a few minutes to reread and review the message. Before sending an important e-mail to important recipients, send it to yourself first to ensure that you’ve used the right language and that the e-mail conveys the correct tone. Then, let it sit in your draft box for at least another thirty minutes before you hit the send button-you’ll usually have no way to recall it once it leaves.

If you need to send attachments, notify the recipient beforehand. Attachments can contain viruses and are sometimes blocked, even from familiar addresses. Notification is also necessary when sending unusually large files, especially to people who may not have a high-speed connection when downloading may be time consuming.

Reply all and discussion groups: Be careful when contributing to discussion groups as it’s easy to hit reply and have your e-mail sent to multiple recipients. Likewise, reply all should be used only if you want everyone to read your content. If the information is not relevant to everyone, just use the reply button.

Use an e-mail signature that contains current contact information-and don’t get cute.

Limit personal use of the e-mail and IM networks while at work. A few minutes may be acceptable but don’t let them add up-these activities can reduce your productivity and rob your company of time before you even realize it. Chain letters and jokes should be reserved for your personal e-mail address on your personal time.

Karen Hinds President/CEO –
Workplace Success Group,
Toll Free: 1-877-902-2775;
Tel: 1-203-757-4103
Creator of The Workplace Success Program (TM)