E-Mail Etiquette: Writing E-mails
Subject Line: DUH! You better have one and it better be clear or I’m not reading your e-mail. Clear and concise and one topic.
Nobody wants to read a novel so keep it short. I personally tend to be a bit wordy so once I type an e-mail, especially if it’s going to several people or a little more formal communication, I’ll re-read it and ask myself if each word is really necessary or how can I make that sentence more concise without losing the meaning.
Keep your font size and color basic for work. Don’t add one of the “cutesy” stationary options for your e-mails. Using stationary actually causes your e-mail to take up more memory because the cutesy background is data that has to get sent over the wire. Skip it!
Reply All: Do not reply all unless the response is relevant to ALL. I can not stand it when I get stuck in a reply all loop, 25, 50 emails rolling in, most of which are from 2 or 3 culprits having what amounts to a side conversation.
Use a signature line for all e-mails…new e-mails, replies and forwards. Your reply and forward signature can be a pared down version of the “new e-mail” signature but nobody wants to hunt around for your phone number which was the first e-mail in a thread of 30. You can and should also set up in a signature for your phone e-mail. Most e-mails coming from phones have a signature that says something like, “Coming from Google Android Galaxy 16 Blah Blah”…nobody cares!
Get the correct recipient: who has ever sent the wrong e-mail to the wrong person? I’ve done it and it sucks every time even when it’s nothing noteworthy. As a rule, I don’t even put the recipient’s name in the e-mail until I’ve written the e-mail and it’s ready to go. That way I can’t accidentally hit send before I’m done writing or editing an e-mail. I’ve prepared scathing e-mails for people and turned around and deleted every word for obvious reasons but accidentally hitting send would just be a nightmare!
Grammar: Use whole words and complete sentences and proper punctuation. Don’t get flowery and drone on, using 16 exclamation points because you are very very happy or very very pissed off. Proof read your e-mails even if it’s a quick skim.
Finally, Somebody once told me, and I think about this often, assume that if you write it that it’s now public information. You just never know if that person to whom you sent a confidential e-mail may find it funny and forward it to their friend and then it’s a free for all. The next thing you know, you are terribly embarrassed or humiliated or worse, one of your coworkers is embarrassed or humiliated.