E-mail Etiquette: The Finer Points Part 2

The following is reprinted courtesy of Robert Half International.


Below are email practices in addition to those from last week’s post to keep in mind when composing digital missives. A well written communication can establish the writer’s credibility and professional stature. Conversely a poorly or sloppily crafted email can undercut a reputation and trust faster than most other common business faux pas.



• Don’t get too fancy. Avoid bright colors, odd fonts or extra-long signature lines. Some people find these distracting or just plain annoying. Include your personal or business links to social and professional networking sites when appropriate.

• Watch the size. An e-mail with a mega-attachment might never reach its recipient, and if it does, it could overload the inbox. Consider zipping the file or utilizing a service like YouSendIt that allows you to transmit large files over the Internet. (Be sure to check your company’s IT policy first.)

• Don’t cry wolf. Is it really urgent or are you simply feeling impatient? Resist the temptation to flag your messages with a big red exclamation point when they’re really not that time sensitive. The result of doing so constantly? People simply will stop paying attention.

• Reply with care. When responding to an e-mail with multiple recipients, think twice about whether you really need to reply to all, and double-check your response before doing so. Bad “Reply to All” threads run rampant throughout organizations.

• Think before you send. Always review the distribution list when sending a sensitive message. Many a message has erroneously been sent to the wrong person with disastrous consequences.