Following simple email etiquette rules not only keep you from looking like an imbecile on the interwebs, they also keep you from making irrevocable mistakes at work or with your friends. So if you currently don’t exercise the email etiquette side of your brain, it’s time to brush up on your e-manners and get savvy to a few simple tricks that will make you an email etiquette professor in no time.
Remember to use BCC. BCC, otherwise known as Blind Carbon Copy, is the “BCC field” in your email that hides all your recipients’ email addresses. Let’s say you want to send an email to all your friends, but you don’t want your current girlfriend to know you still email your ex once in a while. By putting everyone’s names in the BCC field, no one will be the wiser about who you still talk to.
Don’t get forward happy. Don’t forward the latest story about the credit card scam that’s sweeping the country. Look it up on snopes.com – is it real? Many of these chain emails sensationalize one incident – or make the incident up altogether – and get everybody in a tizzy. Then, you look really stupid when one of your contacts writes back that they found out the story was fake. So next time you think forwarding a chain letter is a good idea, don’t. You’ll break yet another email etiquette rule.
Double-check the recipient field. When you’re opening 100 emails each morning, you can get pretty sloppy with your email etiquette in your replies. Check that the NSFW video link you just pasted into the email text field isn’t about to head right into your boss’s inbox. It might just cost your job – or get you an embarrassing chew-out session.
Remember your tone of voice. Trying to be funny in email sometimes backfires. There’s no vocal inflection or facial expression to accompany your email text, so if it’s something that could sound demeaning, degrading or nasty on its own, rewrite it, or don’t send it at all. Or at least add some smiley faces to show you’re not angry with the recipient.
Don’t be demanding. Refrain from demanding that the recipient email you immediately upon receipt. Chances are, you won’t even be at your desk when they open the letter, and if you are, it’s a lot to ask of someone who’s probably just as busy as you are. So express some simple email etiquette and request that they contact you back at their earliest convenience, not yours.