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Email Etiquette

Posted @ 11:27 pm by Alex Kaplinsky | Category: Email | 0 Comments

Part of being a good consultant in the digital space is understanding how to use the tools at your disposal. One of the most common tools we use is still email, but it’s often misused. Below are some simple rules to think about when emailing clients or team members.

#1: Obey the To / Cc / Bcc paradigms — they are there for a reason. When sending to a large list, always use the Bcc paradigm unless you want replies to all. The To field is for the main recipient(s), the one(s) who you need to reply and take the action. The Cc is for people who need to know, but don’t need to take action. The Bcc list is for hidden people.

#2: When beginning an email, address the person or people you are talking to. If there are multiple instructions, start each with their names.

#3: Always include your full signature for legal reasons, branding reasons, and — most of all — ease of accessibility (especially with mobile devices). This goes for forwards and replies, too.

#4: Use the subject for just that, a well thought out subject. The subject should be clear and unique: for example, “SolutionSet proposal for ACME V0-1-0” is much more descriptive than writing just “proposal” because it covers who the proposal is from, for, and the version. A subject should not be instructional text.

#5: Mark the e-mail as urgent only in very rare cases. It really acts like a scream that you have to look at the email immediately, and just like screaming, if you do it all the time it gets ignored.

#6: Read your email before sending it — at least once. This is especially true for larger groups or important deliverables. Though emails are a faster mechanism of communication than others, they are still reflective of your writing abilities.

#7: If you have attachments, describe what they are and what should be done with each—whether they should be reviewed, signed, forwarded, etc.

#8: “Reply to all” should be used rarely for large group emails. People often send emails to a large number of people, which is bad etiquette. Worse is replying to all — not all 50 people need to know that you’re excited to come to the party, for instance. When you hit “Reply to all,” carefully look at all the recipients to see if they are the right people to be receiving the email.

#9: When scheduling a call in an email, put the phone number and extension both in the subject and the body of the email. This will allow people to dial when seeing only the subject and allow for a click to call within the body of the email from mobile devices.


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