A Dozen Good Email Practices

Nowadays we all send and receive multiple emails every day.  Like everything in business there are some golden rules and behaviours that we should apply and expect others to apply as we use this powerful business tool.  Here are some of my favourites.

  • Do not fill in the To & Cc boxes until you have typed and proof read the complete email. That way you will not accidentally send it out half complete.
  • Make sure your e-mail includes a courteous greeting and closing.
  • Read your email out loud to ensure the tone is as you intended. Try to avoid relying on formatting (particularly bold and capitals) for emphasis; choose appropriate words that reflect your meaning instead.
  • If your email is emotionally charged, walk away from the computer and wait to reply, if possible sleep on it. Review the Sender’s email again so that you are sure you are not reading anything into the email that simply isn’t there.
  • Refrain from using the Reply to All feature to give your opinion to those who may not be interested.
  • Keep e-mails brief and to the point. Save long conversations for the old fashioned telephone.
  • Only use Cc: when it is important for those you Cc: to know about the contents of the e-mail. Over use can cause your e-mails to be ignored.
  • Think about your motives when adding addresses to To:, Cc:, BCc. Use discretion.
  • When forwarding e-mail, if you cannot take the time to type a personal comment to the person you are forwarding to, then don’t bother!
  • If you must forward to more than one person, put your e-mail address in the To: field and all the others you are sending to in the BCc: This will protect their e-mail address from being published to those they do not know. This is a serious privacy & potential security issue!
  • If you feel that an e-mail chain is getting out of hand or there is a misunderstanding, pick up the phone and talk things through to sort it out!
  • Think of your business e-mail as though it was on your business letterhead and remember that its contents are representing your business, its reputation and yours.

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