PC News Archive

E-mail Etiquette

October 14, 2009 – by Per Christensson

For many of us, e-mail has become a regular part of our daily lives. Most people send multiple e-mail messages to co-workers and friends every day. Therefore, I find it surprising that so many users are unaware of basic e-mail etiquette. In case you are unsure if you know all the "netiquette" rules related to e-mail, here is a list of guidelines that you may find helpful:

  1. Include a relevant subject
    Most of us receive several e-mails per day. Having a relevant subject for each message makes it much easier to browse through the messages and reply accordingly. Plus, if you don't include a subject, it increases the odds that your message will get caught in a spam filter.
  2. Add your name to your e-mail account
    When you include your name in your mail account configuration, it makes your name appear in the "From:" field rather than just an e-mail address. This is helpful for other users and will also decrease the chance of your message ending up in a junk mailbox.
  3. Use good grammar
    Composing an e-mail message is different than text messaging or chatting online. Therefore, maintaining good grammar and punctuation is important, especially in work-related e-mails.
  4. Include paragraphs
    Separate different thoughts or topics with a paragraph and an extra line break. This makes lengthy e-mails much easier to read.
  5. Don't spam
    Spamming users with unsolicited e-mail is a cardinal online offense. We all know how annoying it is to receive unwanted messages. Therefore, please don't contribute to the problem.
  6. Don't forward messages
    Nobody likes a frequent forwarder. Forwarding e-mail is typically more enjoyable for those forwarding messages than for those receiving them. You can occasionally forward important e-mails, but make sure to delete any other e-mail addresses included in the body of the message. This way you won't unnecessarily share other users' e-mail addresses.
  7. Use Bcc for mass e-mails
    If you need to send an e-mail to a large group of people, be sure to enter the addresses in the the Blind Carbon Copy (Bcc) field. This means each recipient will only see your e-mail address, rather than the e-mail addresses of everyone you sent the message to.
  8. Include a signature
    Appending a signature at the end of an e-mail is a clear way to end your message and provide your contact information to the recipient. A personal signature may simply include your name and e-mail address. A work-related signature may also include your title, business name, and phone number. Many e-mail programs allow you to create multiple signatures for different purposes.
Some of these tips may be common sense, while others are not so obvious. Hopefully you can use the list above to improve your e-mail netiquette and be a courteous netizen. Of course, if you know someone who consistently disregards the above guidelines, maybe you can share this list with that person as well.

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