E-Etiquette – Not Just for Business

Email and the WorldCommunication is critically important to both management and parenting. You may have a firm grasp on the protocols and levels of intimacy that are appropriate for each area of your life when it comes to verbal communication, but how are your e-skills?

The younger you are, the better you would think you would be at this rapidly expanding form of discourse, but that doesn’t necessarily hold true.

Learning E-Etiquette and teaching it to your children will give them a lifelong skill with many rewards.

Here are the basics!

1. Don’t put anything in writing you wouldn’t say to the person face-to-face.

2. Read it through before you hit send and check for spelling errors. Punctuation will be forgiven more quickly than grossly misspelled words, but an incoherent missive will leave a negative impression you may never overcome.

3. If you want them to take action, bullet those items so that they stand out. Don’t bury the important stuff.

4.  Be aware of your tone. This is tough, but necessary, if you don’t want to start conflicts. Tone is incredibly hard to convey in emails, so be sure that your message is not dependent on it.

5.  If a situation is emotional, or even if the email you are responding to is emotional…don’t email! Pick up the phone or go see the person if it is possible. Email is notoriously difficult in emotional situations and you will save yourself drama and even relationships with this simple rule.

6.  Adding one more, after a recent email exchange I saw that became an exercise in misinterpretation…unless you are exchanging emails with a close friend who understands your sense of humor very well, don’t use sarcasm. There is a huge likelihood it will be misinterpreted, and you may spend a great deal of time explaining what you really meant.

The Productivity Pro adds a few to this list, and hits the highlights in 12 Tips for Better Email Etiquette.  It is short, to the point, and worth a read.

Bottom line; please realize that your e-mail, from its structure to its tone, from its salutation to its signature line, is reflecting you. Some people will only know you by your e-correspondence, posts on LinkedIn, Facebook updates, etc., and you want to be sure that you are leaving the impression you desire. It is personal; it is business, and it is your image on the Internet.

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