We write countless emails everyday. Because they are quick to write we often fire them off without enough thought about the appropriate way to write them.
These are some Basic Email Etiquette Rules.
- Be Brief and to the Point. Don’t give your life history or fill your email with off topic complaints. Keep it simple and keep it to the point.
- Acknowledge Receipt of Important Emails. If someone answers a question or gives you a useful piece of information, it is polite to acknowledge receipt with a simple, thank-you. If you’re not sure whether you need to acknowledge receipt. Try to position yourself as the sender, if you sent that email, would you appreciate acknowledgement. Also, read the email and pick up whether the sender expects a reply or not.
- Be Polite. Sarcasm, criticism and off beat humour can easily be misunderstood.
- If it is very important find a better communication channel.
- Don’t Be Angry, aggressive or obnoxious in sending emails. It can really create problems.
- Don’t write emails for the sake of it. No one likes to have endless emails coming through their inbox. Try to limit the number you send. Keep emails for important things.
- Have a clear sense of purpose. A good email should be no more than two paragraphs. It should focus on one issue at a time. If you need to talk about unrelated emails, send more than one email.
- Make sure the title is descriptive and matches the content of the email. If it is important, add to title, but, use this rarely.
- Write in good, reasonable English. People don’t expect perfection, but unless your writing to your fourteen year old niece, abbreviations like OMG, ROFL, WTF, and shortened words like tx thx are not good.
- Don’t Be obliged to respond to emails. If you receive a heated email that leaves you disturbed, sometimes it is better not to respond at all. Perhaps letting the issue cool off before sending a completely new message or speak to the person.
- Be careful about forwarding on someone else’s message. If your co-workers writes to you complaining about something. Don’t forward this onto your boss without their permission. Also, be careful off ccing their message to more than workers.
- Be very careful of replying to all. There is a big difference between replying to all and replying to an individual.
- Don’t write anything, you wouldn’t be happy to say to the person if they were standing right in front of you.
- Emails should be treated like a postcard in terms of security. Always imagine that your email could end up being read by someone you didn’t intend to read it.
- Don’t Spam. Sorry if this is obvious, but, you can do your company reputation alot of damage by sending unsolicited emails.
Books on Writing Emails