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November 2005 - Email Etiquette—Part 2

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John Kline, PhD, inspirational and motivational keynote and after-dinner speaker and corporate trainer.November 2005

Email Etiquette—Part 2

Last month I gave seven tips for e-mail etiquette. Here are seven more.

  1. Don't overuse abbreviations. When you use them, tell what they mean unless you know people understand the meaning. For example, I found thirty common meanings for AWC-ten of them relate to military airpower, such as Air War College, Air Warfare Commander, Air Warfare Control, and Air Warfare Controller. See how confusing it can be?

  2. Be careful using emoticons-such as smiley faces. A good rule is to never use them in business communication. And remember if the message recipient lacks high-speed connectivity, emoticons may slow down message reception.

  3. Use the Bcc (Blind Carbon Copy) feature rather than the Cc (Carbon Copy) feature unless it's important for others to see who received the message. When you send an e-mail to multiple addresses without hiding them, you contribute to spam, especially if your mail is forwarded by others. You also give out e-mail addresses to potentially hundreds of people.

  4. Be careful with formatting and rich text or HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) which may not be easily received by some recipients.

  5. Don't routinely request delivery and read receipts. Save them for times when it is important that you know recipients have received and opened messages. Overuse can be an annoyance, especially to busy people.

  6. If in doubt, don't forward or copy messages others have sent to you without their permission. It's always better to ask; furthermore it communicates respect for the persons you ask.

  7. Make the subject line communicate meaningfully. Many people look at the subject line to determine whether to open a message. "Request permission to attend NCA Conference," "Response to Outsourcing Proposal," "John's calendar for 1-15 Nov" are better subject lines than: "Conference," "Responses," or "Calendar." They are also better than: "NCA Conference," Responses to Proposal," and John's Calendar." Make the subject line communicate.

To be concluded next month.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama

November 2005 - Email Etiquette—Part 2
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