Posted by: episystechpubs | August 10, 2012

Editor’s Corner: Etiquette, Part II

Today I offer you my wishes for a good weekend and the second half of Lynn Gaertner-Johnston’s job aid: Email Etiquette: 25 Quick Rules (

1. Review messages before forwarding them. Be sure nothing in them will embarrass the writer or readers.

2. Don’t hide behind email. To build customer, client, and employee relationships, don’t just type, pick up the phone and talk. To convey a sensitive message, use the telephone or meet in person for two-way communication.

3. Never include confidential or embarrassing information in email. It is too easy to forward it.

4. Use standard font sizes and colors for easy reading. Don’t use wallpaper, backgrounds, or interesting graphics to dress up your messages.

[KC –
Note: For those of you who
need a refresher on our e-mail standards, go to
JHA Today
à Departments
à Marketing.
The first item in the left column (Email Standards 2011) explains the acceptable e-mail formats for JHA.]

5. Avoid smiley faces and clever emoticons like this one: {:- ). Your reader (the CEO? your new client?) may think such symbols are unprofessional.

6. Tell readers if you expect action from them. People read email too fast to guess at requests implied between the lines. If possible, include your request in the first lines of text so they can’t miss it.

7. Everyone has enough to read. Avoid copying people on messages they don’t want or need. [KC – Avoid “Reply to All,” particularly when you only need to reply to one person.]

8. Do not send a blank message with a file attached unless your subject explains the attachment. Readers often delete such messages, especially from outside the firm.

9. Learn the preferences of people you write to often. For example, does your manager want background or just the facts?

10. Reply promptly, considering the urgency and importance of the message.

11. When using email as a formal communication, treat it like a letter. Begin with a greeting (“Dear Ms. Chiu:”) and end with “Best wishes” or a similar close. These customs convey respect.

12. For messages within your company and informal messages to external readers, address the reader politely in the first sentence, like this: Liz, here are the reports. Or use one of these ways, with the message following beneath:

· Liz,

· Liz:

· Hi, Liz,

· Hi Liz,

· Dear Liz:

· Dear Liz,

13. After using your grammar and spelling checker, proofread. Then forgive your errors and those of others. Despite our electronic communications, we are all human.

KC – And one more rule: please don’t use all caps. Nobody likes feeling like you’re yelling at them through e-mail.

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