A simple guide to email etiquette

We put together a simple guide to email etiquette for college students and young professionals. Our goal is to help prevent you from making a simple mistake in your email correspondence.

Today, more than ever before, communication takes place from our devices and computers rather than face to face. One of the main tools that many students, employees and business owners use to communicate is email.

It is estimated that by 2020,3 billion people worldwide will use email to communicate. Even though it is popular, many people don’t realize that there are rules of etiquette that go with email communication.

Here are a few tips to help you use this tool in a way that will be less likely to offend anyone in the workplace or on a personal level.

1. Use an Appropriate Subject Line

A clear, concise subject line that conveys the purpose of the email is highly appreciated and can save your reader time. In addition, it keeps your message from looking like spam.

2. Watch Your CC’s

CC’s (Copying the message to multiple receivers) can be useful in some situations, but it can also create problems. Use this with care, and consider writing each person directly when possible. If you are messaged in a group, make sure you do not reply to the group as a whole, especially if you are saying something that could offend.

3. Be Careful with Humor

Quite often, humor falls flat in text form. Watch your use of humor, especially sarcasm over email. You may accidentally offend someone when you had no intention of doing so.

4. Reply Quickly

People send message by email because they want to reach you quickly so, don’t leave them waiting. If you get a message, reply quickly. It will be much appreciated.

5. Remember Privacy

Email isn’t always 100% secure. Think about what you’re sending before you send it.

6. Proofread

A quick spell check can save you from embarrassment. In addition, if you have access to a grammar check you may consider using one of those as well, though they are not 100% accurate.

No matter if you use email, social media, texting or any form of digital contact, just remember: be kind. As quoted by the Dalai Lama: “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” This can certainly be extended into your digital communication too.

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