21 tips for good email etiquette

Sunday 23 June, 2013
We spend hours of our working day emailing. Here are 21 tips to make sure your email is read and that it's read in the manner in which you intended it to be: Image Image source: Cartoon Stock 1. Make sure that you are sending the email to the right person 2. Always give your email a relevant subject line 3. Make sure your emails are written in a manner which respects the person you are sending it to. An email to your mum can be much more informal in tone and structure than an email to another colleague 4. Whoever the email is intended for, please ensure spell check is switched on 5. Write appropriate greetings and goodbyes. A simple 'Good morning' or 'I hope you're weekend was relaxing' are the best ways to make your email less direct and less demanding 6. Keep your email short and simple. Only include relevant material and if action is required make sure you indicate this in the subject of the email or in the email itself 7. Don't use capitals in an email as it can MAKE IT LOOK LIKE YOUR'E SHOUTING! If you need to stress something, underline it or make the word bold. The same principal goes for using many explanation marks (!!!) or question marks (???) 8. Don't say an email is urgent unless it really is a high-priority email. If your colleagues continually get urgent emails from you in their inbox, they're more likely to avoid responding to them 9. Don't use email to avoid personal contact. It's always easier to explain a complex situation in person or over the phone and can save both yourself and another employee a lot of time. Moreover, there is always the chance that your email may be misread or misinterpreted so a face-to-face meeting is always best if you're dealing with work issues or dramas 10. Use a signature that includes contact information 11. Don't just keep forwarding-on emails with long sections of information. Summarize the key information before passing it on and outline what action is required 12. Unless you are absolutely certain an emoticon will be received well, avoid using them. A smiley face often looks juvenile in business. The same applies to the use of abbreviations, such as "ttyl" ("talk to you later") and "lmk" ("let me know") 13. You should only use 'to'? for the people you are directly addressing. You should use 'cc'? for the people you are indirectly addressing e.g. for their information only. Use 'cc'? sparingly and only if that person needs to know about the topic. Indiscriminate copying of email clogs inboxes and encourages people to ignore messages they should read 14. Address your contact with the appropriate level of formality and make sure you spell their name correctly. 15. If your email is emotionally charged, walk away from the computer and wait to reply 16. Just because someone doesn't ask for a response doesn't mean you ignore them. Always acknowledge emails from those you know in a timely manner. 17. Don't use colours or fancy fonts. Keep your emails simple to read 18.Be sure your virus, adware and spyware programs are up to date and include scanning of your emails and attachments both incoming and outgoing 19. If you're sending a large attachment make sure you 'zip' or compress the file before sending. Also, make sure you actually send the attachment 20. Posting or forwarding of private email is copyright infringement. You need permission from the author first 21. Always end your emails with "Thank you," "Sincerely," "Take it easy," "Best regards" or something similar
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