In an article at CiB, website of the British Association of Communicators in Business, Angela Nielsen, president of the award-winning web development company, NIC Media Group, gives more tips on email netiquette.
Nielsen reminds us: “even the most experienced user will find a few rules you were not aware of or have fallen into the habit of breaking.”
1. Think twice and review your message before sending it out. If hastily written, the message may not reflect your true feelings or intent. Check whether or not it may be misinterpreted. Could it come across as sarcastic or mean-spirited instead of light and funny? Could it accidentally affect your reputation?
2. Use a subject line that clues the receiver in to your message. Leaving the subject line blank or using generic words will increase the likelihood of your message being filtered out as junk mail, spam or virus by the recipient’s internet service provider.
3. Begin your message with a salutation appropriate to the recipient and your personality. End it with another appropriate closing - even a simple “Thank you” - and always sign your name. You may also set up your email program to automatically display a preset signature at the bottom of every message you send.
4. To protect your recipients’ identity or identities, use the “To:”, “CC:” and “BCC:” fields properly.
5. When replying to email, do not erase the previous exchanges you had with the sender in order to help him or her remember the thread of your conversation. This way, he or she will not have to look through their “sent items” folder for forgotten details.
6. It is an invasion of privacy to demand a “Read Receipt” so use it sparingly. It does not guarantee that your message was actually read anyway, just that it was received.
7. Proofread your message and do not rely solely on spell-check. Observe proper capitalization and punctuation. Check your grammar. Break up long paragraphs, or when the subject changes. Do not use excessive formatting. Strive to make your message easily readable and understandable.
8. Send even a short reply to email to let the sender know you received the message.
9. Do not email anyone about your product or service without their permission or unless they request it. Without the request, or unless you have previously done business with them, it is illegal to do so.
10. Before sending large attachments of more than 2MB, ask if it’s acceptable. Better yet, compress it first into a zipped file or, if possible, send it in batches in separate emails.
11. Do not forward chain-letter emails and other hoaxes. Reply politely to the sender and perhaps ask them to stop forwarding such messages to you.
12. If you receive a virus warning with instructions for removing a certain virus from your system, do not do anything checking google.com first. It could be a hoax leading you to remove a crucial component from your system.
All of us could use these reminders.