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E-mail Etiquette
Author: Tim Taylor


Email has become a standard way of communicating.

The sending of e-mail – some good rules to follow.

This is from the book – “"SEND: The Essential Guide to Email for Office and Home." By Will Schwalbe

1. If you don’t want to get junk mail, then don’t send junk mail!

a. People that complain about getting too much junk mail from their friends are the ones that usually send too much mail – you are creating “personal spam”.

If you want fewer better e-mails then send fewer better e-mails!

2. Don’t do wall papers, special fonts, etc. These can be hard or impossible to read on the other end. I have seen people send e-mails where their font color is the same as the wallpaper (i.e. Red font color and a red background. Guess what? It cannot be read!!

3. Is this a hoax? Don’t send these around. 99% of them are hoaxes. Check out this site - you can see if this is an urban myth or not.

4. Don’t interlace your reply within the e-mail of the other person. If you do this sometimes the person on the other end cannot figure out where your response is. You can change fonts or colors, but sometimes that does not come across so they won’t see it. If they are asking you a bunch of questions and you want to respond to each one within their message – type your answers in all caps. This will help differentiate your answer from their question.

5. Make sure you attach the text of their message in your reply. Have you ever gotten a reply from someone without your messages in there and you don’t know what they are talking about!

6. Don’t be a “bottom replier” – you have to scroll down to see their response at the bottom. What if they are on a blackberry? They have to scroll all the way down to the bottom to see your answer!!

7. Remember, e-mail is (or can be permanent) and it can be forwarded! It can be kept around FOREVER! Remember that when you send an e-mail – especially something negative. A very wise friend of mine once said that anything negative should never be written down in a letter or an e-mail. It can come back to bite you.

8. Corporate e-mail systems limit the space they let their users have. If you send them an attachment like a video file then you can fill up their space so they cannot receive ANY more e-mail! Would you pull up to their house and start unloading junk from your house into their living room? The space allowed for e-mail is finite!

9. If you would not print this out, put it in a letter and put a stamp on it and send it to everyone then don’t send this!! Just because e-mail is easy to send that doesn’t mean you should send anything that comes to mind!

10. Just because someone sends you something on e-mail, that doesn’t mean you have to respond. Ask people, over the phone or in person, to not send you junk e-mail.

11. We tend to think when we send an e-mail that we are having a conversation with someone, but we are not! The person cannot hear the emotion in your voice or your facial features. You can say something like “Do whatever you want” or “Don’t take this in a bad way, but ……” That can be taken SOOO many ways. BE CAREFUL! Put a smiley face in there if it is needed. You can say things, but you have to let people know the emotion you are trying to convey.

12. Doesn’t it freak you out when your boss calls instead of sending an e-mail? With email, people aren’t quite themselves: they are angrier, less sympathetic, less aware, more easily wounded, even more gossipy and duplicitous.”

13. Companies should train people how to send good e-mails. There is almost NO training going on there. If you are an employer, you have worked hard to get a good reputation. You hire a new employee or a temporary employee and with in a day they are representing you through e-mail. Do you know you can be held responsible for what they send out? I cannot believe what I see people send to their friends, and their co-workers – would you send this out on your letterhead? More and more these things are being used in court cases.

14. Another tip – use the subject line – this is a great way to get your e-mail read. Some antivirus systems will block messages that have nothing in the subject line. People might want to look for this message later and this is where they are going to look – on the subject line! If it is blank how are they going to find you?

15. When you send out something to lots of people, but all those names in the BCC line which will hide their emails. People don’t want their e-mail address given out to everyone!

16. Last tips:

a. Don’t bark orders on e-mail, be nice if you want people to continue to read your e-mail.

b. Sign with the name you are likely to be called by. If you want to be called Tim then sign your e-mails - Tim

c. Lastly, when in doubt about the style to reply to an e-mail – then use the style that you were sent in. People are more comfortable reading back something they have seen before.

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