Email Etiquette

Have you ever been spammed? Chances are you have, if you have email. Spamming is defined as receiving junk email from an unsolicited source. Messages you don't want, from people you don't know, clogging your mailbox and dragging down your system. Spam email is just one example of the many on-line pitfalls we encounter as more and more of our communication with others occurs over the internet. Email is a wonderful tool, but like any other tool, email is most effective when properly used. Some suggestions:

Be Brief ~ Email is intended for short informational messages. Keep in mind that with some email systems it is possible for the recipient to read just the first three lines of your message without ever opening the email. Make the first couple lines count!

Be Specific ~ The subject line is your friend. Write brief, descriptive titles. Also, prioritize your email appropriately. If you send everything high priority the little red exclamation point will begin to lose its meaning.

Be Selective ~ Think about who needs to see the information you are sending. "Reply All" and "cc" are neat features, but not every email needs a reply.

Be Pleasant ~ Watch not only what you say, but how you say it. A heated message or tone is called a "flaming" email. Using all capital letters is considered YELLING. Use the "*" key when you want to *emphasize* something.

Be Yourself ~ Never assume that the recipient will know exactly who you are or your organization. You may need to identify your title, company, and phone number.

Be Careful ~ When at work, email is considered the property of the employer and may be monitored. Think twice about the information you are sending and to whom it is going.

Be Professional ~ Don't hide behind your computer. Don't use email as a shield to avoid having a conversation or a face-to-face interaction.

Be Practical ~ While sending email is one of the fastest ways to communicate, it is not designed for an immediate response. Not everyone lives in front of his or her monitor. Consider different time zones when sending an email that requires a response.

Be compliant ~ Use discretion and do not create a "spam" situation. When in the office, email is a workplace tool. The vast majority of messages in your mailbox should be work related. Many companies reserve the right to monitor your workplace email.

Be Polite ~ As more and more of our daily work occurs over the internet, more of us will experience professional relationships that exist only over the web. Strive to make every interaction a pleasant one.