Tips And Rules For Email

We are technical folks. We always like to talk about tools and technologies and of course, it should be focused mainly. But with this attitude we generally ignore few important things including communication skills. I am going to leave topic for open debate if it is Technical or Non-Technical topic. A good alternate title can be "Email Ethics".

Always Respond, Never React

"You may not be able to control the events that occur during the day, especially those events that are unexpected and challenging. But, you definitely have a choice whether you are going to allow these events to ruin your day, and how you are going to face these challenges."

Barry Gottlieb

Don't send e-mail when you're tired or furious. E-mail can easily be angry, hurtful, or critical. It takes a lot of time to undo the damage.

Delete Unnecessary Email

You have several choices, Scan headers, and delete/archive everything you don't need to know or act upon materially. It's okay to ignore an e-mail the same way for a letter or a phone message.

Attachments

When replying to an email be sure to make sure if you want to send the attachment already with the email. Otherwise KINDLY use the reply button instead of forward. Also when sending an attachment, make sure the reader is able to open the attachment - use the lowest common denominator for sending files. Mention Attachments with brief description and use logical name for attachments.

Targeted and Relevant Audience Only

Treat email like letters and phone calls; wait for a calmer moment to respond. Remove irrelevant people from To/CC/BCC. Rule of thumb; think once before “Reply All”.

Email Subject

Be specific with Subject. Ideally subject must be relevant to email. A good idea is to begin subject with the project name, followed by context. Many among us are working on multiple projects.

Email Signature

Keep proper email signatures. It is recommended for everyone to keep the same signature format with/without logo within a company. And if possible then consider including name of your backup resource.

A Stitch in Time

Take advantage of the time saving bells and whistles your e-mail program offers. Be responsive to your emails and try to respond within reasonable timeframe.

Avoid Time Wastage

There is considerable time being wasted which must be conserved so that it can be put to other important things. Email is for communicating, but communicating effectively and clearly.

Address Book

Keep an up-to-date address book, and never delete names and addresses. You never know when someone will come back into your digital life.

Break the chain

Chain email is not only tacky, it's banned on many corporate networks. Try and keep the chains small. For example, if this is the fifth revision of FS then please state so in the Subject line.

Email is not for Chatting

Email is not a communication medium for rapid interactive communication, if you need rapid interactive discussion then it is better to consider some other alternatives like phone call or IM tool.

General Rules

In general it is always good to consider following, believe me, these may help you directly or indirectly.

  • Always perform spelling and grammar checking. Few email clients provide the facility to perform spelling checking before sending email.
  • Avoid shortcuts, emoticons and slangs.
  • If you are on leave or out for long meeting then consider features like auto responder.