Email Writing Etiquette: Focus on Your Reader

Introduction to This Email Writing Training

Email is certainly a useful tool. For private users, it’s a way to keep in touch with friends and relatives. Email at this level is often informal, uses emoticons 🙂 and slang, and in many ways resembles casual, conversational communication.

At the corporate level, email allows professionals to solve problems, conduct business, collaborate, and keep in touch in a manner sometimes more convenient than phone calls, faxes, and in-person contact.

Business people should not confuse the two uses. Writing and content appropriate for personal emails may not be appropriate for corporate emails. This lesson focuses on the appropriate uses for e-mail and some conventions any writer should follow in an email message.

Training

Email Etiquette Activities

Evaluate the e-mail created in your business setting in two parts: your assessment of the organization’s practices and your assessment of your practices.

Your Organization’s Email Writing Practices

  • Are writers in your organization careful about what they put in their email?
  • Do any business people send email containing anything they might not want put up on the bulletin board or used in court?
  • Do they avoid sending attachments and ask the reader’s permission before they send them, especially large attachments?
  • Do people in your organization copy or forward messages without permission?
  • Do they use colored backgrounds, unusual fonts, all caps, or a series of exclamation points or question marks?
  • Do they choose times to respond to email and each time clean out their in-boxes.
  • Do they try to read each e-mail only once.

Your E-mail Writing Practices

  • Are you careful about what you put in your e-mail?
  • Do you send e-mail containing anything you might not want put up on the bulletin board or used in court?
  • Do you avoid sending attachments and ask the reader’s permission before you send them, especially large attachments?
  • Do you copy or forward messages without permission?
  • Do you use colored backgrounds, unusual fonts, all caps, or a series of exclamation points or question marks?
  • Do you choose times to respond to e-mail and each time clean out your in-box.
  • Do you try to read each e-mail only once.