July 6, 2009 | last updated March 24, 2012 2:34 pm

101 E-mail Etiquette

Sending e-mail has become as routine as picking up the phone or extending a hand in greeting a colleague. It may be the quickest and easiest way to communicate today, but it is still important to give people the right impression. To avoid common missteps, follow the tips below:

Proofread. Although the most basic rule, proofreading is the most important one. Re-read your e-mail to make sure it is thoughtful, clear, concise, and free from grammar and spelling mistakes. Double and even triple check your e-mail because "sending a badly spelled, half written pile of rubbish is a painful, toe-curling experience," says Lyndsay Swinton at mftrou.com.

Be Professional. It is respectful to always address the person you are e-mailing, just as it is appropriate to end the e-mail with a signature. Always include a subject line; no subject is meaningless to the recipient. "The subject line has become the hook," says Lydia Ramsey at Sideroad.com. Business e-mails should be uniform, and it is never acceptable to "let your emotions slip into an e-mail," says Swinton. Think business-like.

CC: and BCC: Keep in mind that people's inboxes are full enough and they don't need messages sent to them that aren't directly related to their work. The cc field should be used sparingly, and for only those who know why they are receiving the e-mail. The bcc field should be used if you intend to send it to a large amount of people. It isn't considerate to publicly list out an e-mail address without permission.

Establish a Policy. Publishing a corporate e-mail policy is the first step to creating an efficient e-mail system, according to Emailreplies.com. The policy should state the guidelines of writing effective e-mails, the rules on acceptable use of the e-mail system, and the banning of illegal content and notification that all items on company computers are publicly accessible at all times. Making all employees aware of what the company expects of them when it comes to e-mail can eliminate bad e-mail etiquette from the beginning.


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