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The New Email Etiquette: Short and Simple


In deference to our own advice, we’ll keep this refresher on email etiquette short and to the point!

1. Keep it brief. More people are checking and responding to email from their smartphones. This trend, combined with ever-shortening attention spans and people’s increasingly cramped schedules, means that nobody has the time or patience to read a long epistle. Get to the point and be very clear about what you need from the recipient.

2. When in doubt, write a draft. It’s natural to want to hit “Reply” and send an angry response to an email that sets you off. The better way to react: wait a few minutes, cool down, and write a draft in another program like Word or Notepad. Only when you’re ready, and you’re certain that your email won’t cause serious problems, should you paste that into your email program. Give it another read. As a very last step, don’t address the email. Keeping that email unaddressed until the last minute will save you a huge amount of heartburn because you won’t send it off prematurely by accident.

3. Steer clear of specialty fonts and backgrounds. They just increase the size of every message you send, and nobody can read them on their smartphones anyway.

4. When sending group emails, BCC (blind carbon copy) can be your friend. If you’re writing to a group of unaffiliated people – say, contacting a dozen clients to invite them to a special open house at your office – they don’t need to know each other’s names and email addresses. Send the invite to yourself and BCC everybody else. Your clients will appreciate that you respect their privacy.

5. Get a proper domain. Even if you’re a small startup, a Yahoo or Gmail address looks unprofessional. Any reputable hosted email provider will give you a custom email address so that you can have a proper domain.


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