Email Etiquette Rules – Do’s and Don’ts for Email Etiquette

Email Etiquette Rules – Do’s and Don’ts for Email Etiquette

Email etiquette is changing, and it’s vital to know the rules. Email is a powerful tool that liberates communication. Writing action-oriented email is a critical skill that will help you get results quickly in the short term. In the long term, it will help you advance your career when you know the email etiquette rules.

However, like any communication tool, it is important to know how and when to use it. Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you decide when to use email online:

Email etiquette rules – Do use email for:

  • Quickly communicating specific ideas
  • Reasonably short messages -up to about 20 lines on a screen
  • Handling essential business
  • Sending information to a list
  • Reducing telephone and meeting time by sending information in advance
  • Non-confidential messages

Email etiquette rules – Do not use email for:

o Anything that needs immediate action, such as an unexpected meeting this afternoon. You many not reach everyone. Call instead.

o In-depth discussion, such as email that generates a string of four or more replies. It may be time for a phone call or personal meeting.

o Anything that will reflect badly on you or anyone else if it reaches the wrong mailbox. Remember that anything you send can become public property. It can be forwarded, saved and printed by people it was never intended for, and can be used as proof in a court.

o Sensitive issues, such as delivering bad news or giving negative feedback to a colleague or employee.

o Anything obscene, libelous, offensive or racist does not belong in a company email, even as a joke.

o Communicating with people who seldom use email themselves.

o Personal communication where body language and facial expression are important in interpreting a message

o Angry or sarcastic messages. It’s easy to get heated up, and with e-mail we feel anonymous. We often write things that we would never say to someone’s face. If you are upset, step away from the computer and cool down. Ask yourself if you would say this to the person if you were face to face. If you wouldn’t say it, don’t send it.

o Messages that can be easily misinterpreted. Because we don’t have the tone of voice or body language to gives us further cues, people often question what an email means.

I invite you to use these simple rules online for email etiquette.