Thursday 12 April 2012

email etiquette - to CC or not to CC

Is your work inbox stuffed with incomprehensible, oversized or irrelevant messages? Follow these simple tips to make sure colleagues and customers smile when your email arrives.

get your message across

  • Use a meaningful subject line – never leave it blank.
  • Keep it short – one subject in one email.
  • Use clear English – not jargon.
  • Avoid abbreviations and acronyms unless you’re sure the other person understands.
  • Check your spelling and grammar – a misplaced apostrophe can change the meaning of a sentence.
  • Don’t write ALL IN CAPS (which is hard to read, and is seen as “shouting”).

what about the bells and whistles?

  • Use ‘urgent’ flags sparingly.
  • Use simple formatting – use the standard font and avoid lots of fancy colours, bold and italics.
  • Avoid BCC – it’s sneaky.
  • Don’t CC ‘just in case’ – only copy in people who really need to know.
  • Rather than attaching large files, save them in a shared drive.

when not to email

  • Can you phone instead? Or even walk round and talk to the person?
  • If you’re in a bad mood, don’t bang out a cross email and hit send. Save a draft and come back to it later.
  • Don’t use sarcasm because it can easily be misinterpreted. And never write anything in an email that is libellous or otherwise inappropriate – even as a joke.
These tips are intended for work email but I think most of them can be applied to your private correspondence too. And if you're organising a hen night, one extra rule - be judicious in your use of exclamation marks...