Dynamoo's Email Etiquette
Although most business and organisations?
have adopted email relatively recently,
for many people it is now the standard way of communicating
within organisations, and also with customers, external
contacts and business partners.
In business, the formality of email messages tends to vary, between the semi-formal
approach that was previously the domain of the inter-office
memo, down to chatty exchanges that you might have with
someone over the telephone or while standing next to
the coffee machine.
However, email messages are surprisingly permanent.
Have a really good look through the contents of your
mailbox and you might be surprised to see just how old
some of those messages are. Would you have kept a paper
inter-office memo for that length of time? Probably
not. And the worrying thing is that most people give
very little thought to the contents of an email message,
even though it might linger around an organisation for
Most corporate mail systems are backed up onto tape
regularly, and those tape archives can stretch back
for several years and allow access to mail that you
had previously thought was gone forever. There have
been several high-profile cases where archived emails
have been recovered and used in legal cases.
However, it can be normal day-to-day email messages that can cause the most
problems, with their offhand remarks and unguarded comments,
thoughtless turns of phrase and careless wording. Care
must be taken both when sending an email message, and,
perhaps more importantly, when reading it. Try not to
be too harsh if there's a chance that you might have
misinterpreted the sender's meaning.
One problem with less formal email
is missed signals - the written message doesn't come with facial expressions
or gestures that you would get in a face-to-face meeting,
and there's no tone of voice to interpret as you could
over the telephone. A great deal of human communication
comes from these non-verbal signals and traditionally
they help to make the message more clear..
irony and humour?
can be difficult to express in a mail message - many people get round this
by using smileys such as :) to indicate humor - but not everyone
knows what these mean, so they are not foolproof.
The following tips should help you
avoid some of the pitfalls.
Good Email Etiquette
to see what your organisation's email policy is. Many organisations have
rules about the types of message that can be sent
and also if your email is monitored
to think about the message content before you send it out.
sure that the content is relevant to the recipients. Nobody likes
to receive junk email.
Terseness can be misinterpreted.
any quoted message down as much as possible.
to use humour and irony sparingly. You can use smileys such
as :) or :( to indicate facial expressions, but make sure
that the recipient understands what they mean.
that you have a relevant "Subject" line.
to quote from the original message where relevant. You can break
the quoted message down into paragraphs and comment on them individually
to make it clearer.
especially with inexperienced email users. Give people the benefit of the
doubt - just because you are familiar with email etiquette, it doesn't
mean that they are.
a brief signature on your email messages to help the recipient understand
who it is from, especially if you are dealing with someone you do not know very
when replying to mailing list messages, or to messages sent to many recipients.
Are you sure you want to reply to the whole list?
to delete anything that isn't needed or is trivial.
to tell people the format of any attachments you send if they're
anything other than basic Microsoft Office file types.
your correspondent if you forward
a message to somebody else to deal with, so they
know who to expect a reply from.
its useful to do so. If your email system doesn't
allow bold or italics then a common
convention is to use a *star* either side of the
word you want to stress.
that languages such as English differ in spelling
between different countries. "Organisation"
and "humour" are the correct spelling
in British English, but in American English it would
be "organization" and "humor".
Non-native speakers of English may use a variety
of national spellings.
Bad Email Etiquette
to an email message when angry , as you may regret it later. Once
the message has been sent, you will not be able to recover it.
keep mail on your server longer than necessary, especially large
out an entire, long message just to add a line or two of
text such as "I agree".
type in CAPITALS as this is considered to be SHOUTING. This is
one of the rudest things you can do.
over-use punctuation such as exclamation
("!") as these are meant to be for emphasis.
In particular avoid more than one exclamation mark
("!!"), especially if your email is quite
formal. Also, over-use of the full-stop (e.g. "....")
can make a message difficult to read.
send irrelevant messages, especially to mailing lists or
send large attachments without checking with the recipient first.
send excessive multiple postings to people who have
no interest. This is known as "spamming" and is considered to be ignorant,
and may lead to serious trouble with your Internet
Service Provider (ISP) or IT department.
send chain letters or "make money fast" messages. There are
several hoaxes about to do with viruses - never pass these on without
checking with your IT department first.
criticize people's spelling, it is considered petty. Many people
have no way of running a spell check on their messages and will make typos.
Not all nationalities spell words in the same way.
conduct arguments in public, for example on a mailing list.
"flame" people by sending them abusive email messages.
make personal remarks about third parties. Email messages
can come back to haunt you.
send unsuitable email or attachments, especially anything of a sexual
nature as they may well be found by a third party later.
use an over-elaborate signature on your email message. Never,
ever, use scanned images in a signature as these tend to be very large.
mark things as urgent if
they aren't, because then when you really do have
an urgent message it may not be treated in the way
post your email address on web sites and other public parts of the Internet
unless you want to be deluged with spam.
There is also a version
of this translate into Serbo-Croatian language by Vera Djuraskovic from Webhostinggeeks.com.
this is a revised version of the old email etiquette
document which can be found here.