Email Etiquette (Netiquette)

Friend or Foe?

It’s no secret that email has completely changed the way we communicate. It’s an immediate and convenient tool.

One click of the Send button and a message can be duplicated instantly. However, how we communicate via email says quite a bit about us as professionals, and we need to keep some important guidelines in mind.

  • Consider your message as well as the tone and word usage. If it sounds angry, rewrite it so that the emotion is removed. Don’t risk misunderstandings.
  • Proofread. Don’t rely on your email program’s spellchecker to flag all errors. Even spellcheckers are not infallible, and there’s nothing more embarrassing than sending an email without proofing it and finding an error later. In most cases, you can’t take back what you’ve sent, so make sure your message is error-free before you hit Send.
  • Don’t write in all capital letters. Believe it or not, it’s actually considered rude. Emails written in all capital letters are like shouting. If you must emphasize a point, consider bolding one or two words. Use capital letters for acronyms.
  • Use bullet points. This is an easy way to keep your emails organized and convey your message easily. Nobody wants to read through several paragraphs to find an answer. Make it easy for your reader to find exactly what they need in your email, whether it’s a point, a direction, or an answer to a question.
  • Turn off the default setting for read receipt. Anytime I open an email from someone who has this turned on, I wonder if they have a trust issue, or if they’ve just forgotten that they have this setting on. Outlook, especially, has this feature available. Use it sparingly to avoid misunderstandings.

Make email a useful and powerful way to communicate. Make sure technology serves your leadership goals rather than subverts them.

This post was originally contributed by Wendy Dietrich

L2L Contributing Author