Ten Rules for Email ‘Netiquette’

My bet is that you didn’t have email when you went to school and learned other types of communication etiquette. Email has become our primary method of communicating these days. Some of the tips below address how to avoid looking like spam. You want your recipient to read the email, not throw it in the junk mail folder. Other tips are common courtesy and not overloading your readers.

  1. Always enter an informative subject, this will distinguish your emails from spam. not just ‘Hello’, but ‘Hello from Stu and Marsha in Illinois’email-subject
  2. Always ‘sign’ your emails – this also identifies your emails better than the ‘from’ address because ‘from’ can be ‘spoofed’ by spammers and viruses.
  3. Limit emails to one topic. If you ask several questions, for example, you are less likely to get answers to all of them. If you have 2 questions to ask, send 2 emails. Each email with an appropriate subject.
  4. Always copy or refer to the original email when responding. It is very aggravating for someone to receive an email that just says, “Yes”.
  5. Don’t use all caps. That is considered SHOUTING.
  6. Don’t forward ‘forwarded’ emails. If it’s important enough to send along, Copy and paste the original message into a new email.
  7. Attachments: Never attach large files. Large would be anything over 200k. Learn to use ‘Zip’ software to compress files. Don’t attach any files without a detailed description of the attached file in the body of your message. People should never open an attachment without being sure of what it is. Make it easy for them.
  8. Never put a lot of email addresses in the To: or the CC: field. Use BCC – these don’t show up on the recipient’s email.
  9. Spam is a fact of life, learn to deal with it. Learn how to control the settings of your Junk Mail folder. If that lets too much spam thru, contact your email service provider to see if they have a spam filter that can prevent junk mail from getting to your inbox at all.
  10. Always reply to friends’ emails you receive. That is the only way they know that you actually got it. Our email system today is so overloaded, you just never know if it will get delivered and read. It’s a courtesy to inform the writer that you did actually get their email.
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