Check Your Email Etiquette

Although e-mail exchanges are a major means of communication between people in the professional world, some people could still use a reminder about email etiquette. An article from CNN.com describes three common e-mail mistakes and how to avoid them. Here are the highlights:

1. Be careful of recklessly BCC’ing and forwarding e-mails: BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) should be used when you are sending a mass e-mail and you don’t need everyone to see everyone else on the recipient list. BCC should not be used to secretly let someone know about an e-mail exchange. If the BCC’d person doesn’t realize they were BCC’d, they may hit reply-all and blow your cover. A better way to clue someone in is to forward them the exchange. However, remember when forwarding that the whole chain of emails up until that point will be read by your recipient.

2. Be courteous: Most email exchanges involve asking for or supplying information, so it is important to remember your manners. Some people think sending a “thank you” once they receive the information they requested will just clutter the sender’s inbox. However, when sent back right away, it should not interfere with their e-mail checking. If more than 20 minutes has elapsed, you may want to include your “thank you” in the next email exchange with the person.

When you are the one providing the information, avoid pasting and sending without a salutation or a sign-off. This makes it sound like you are annoyed that you had to help. A short reply with the information such as “here you go, thanks” sets a better tone.

3. Have some tact and avoid playing fascist dictator: Address your employees the same way you would address your boss. Hitting the question mark three times is not the most sensitive way to reply to someone’s email when you are unclear about their message. Think about the tone of your emails before you send them. For those who have difficulty judging how your e-mails come across, there’s a plug-in called ToneCheck that flags harsh phrases in your emails.

Can you think of any other common e-mail blunders that need to be addressed?

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