- Construct your copy list on a need-to-know basis. Be careful in using large distribution lists for highly focused topics.
- Use formal language (with complete sentences, business letter formats and correct spelling) and a well-thought-out structure when communicating with senior management or customers. Remember, an e-mail message helps to create an image of you and your company.
- Avoid large attachments if at all possible. Background documents of interest to a subset of the recipients can be put on your intranet.
- Be prompt in responding to action items. Acknowledge an accepted action item with an e-mail response even if you can’t get to it for a while.
- Avoid e-mail wars. Take personal conflicts offline, and handle them privately.
- Use auto response messages to notify correspondents if you are out of the office or on vacation and won’t be able to read messages.
- Put meaningful data in the subject field. Many users are responding to information overload with filters and rules-based agents.
- Don’t use e-mail to highlight negative thoughts about senior management. It can be too easily forwarded or misaddressed.
- Observe common practices within your organization. Every organization has a unique culture, and this also applies to e-mail etiquette.