Think Before Sending: E-mail etiquette tips

Email Etiquette Tips

By Peggy Wallace, Making Conversation
05/06/2015
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Keep the Subject Line Short.
Enough said. Mobile devices can cut off lengthy subject lines. Write subject lines like a news story. Don’t bury the lead.

Update the Subject Line.
Many of us have those long strings of e-mails that start out with, “pleasure meeting you at …” or “referral from ….”  Sometimes the string has gone on for so long that it bears no relation to the topic at hand. If it evolves into a lunch meeting redo the subject line to “Lunch Thursday, Jan 15 - noon at Sam’s” is no longer relevant.

Start A New Thread. Take The Effort To Begin A New E-Mail.
If you are conveying information that might well be forwarded to someone else in order to get his or her opinion/make a decision, start a new thread. They have no need to be distracted by the details about your babysitter, Kelsey, and probably do not want to be tempted to read about that other project which is irrelevant to them. Many people print e-mails; don’t waste unnecessary trees.

Read and Re-Read Your E-Mail Aloud BEFORE You Send It.
Check whether it could be misunderstood. If there needs to be an explanation, rewrite it. There is no tone of voice to an e-mail and emoticons can be misinterpreted. :-).  Jokes and sarcasm can EASILY miss their mark.

An E-Mail Is Forever.
Or, close to it. If you think you might be “reacting” to an e-mail or situation, rather than considering your response, place your first response in “DRAFTS” and come back to it after an hour or so. Overnight is even better. Anything in writing takes on a new sense of importance. Also, e-mails can be forwarded. Although it is polite to let the person who wrote the e-mail know to whom it was forwarded, by “cc” - there is no e-mail requirement that the sender do so.



Article by Peggy Wallace, founder, Making Conversation

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