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Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski Headshot

Email Etiquette

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Email is a huge part of my day. It's how I communicate with clients, vendors, project partners, media and almost every other person in my life. It's such a huge part of our daily lives, yet it's surprising how many people lack proper email etiquette skills. Here are some tips that I believe will make virtual communications a happier experience.

Email 101:

  • The first and most important lesson is to include an email signature in every email; first and last name, professional title, company name, mailing address, office line, alternate phone number if applicable, email address and website. Don't make us search through your last 20 emails to us just to find a phone number or mailing address. If it's your personal email account, a first and last name and phone number will suffice.
  • Most email addresses have people's first names. So, if you're writing to debra [at] companyname [dot] com, don't begin your email with "Hi Barbara".
  • I'm not a huge fan of the "read receipt" option. Do you really need to know when I read your note? I'll reply as soon as I can.
  • Try not to overuse "reply all." However, if I add somebody to a chain, I'd like you to keep them on it and not have to keep adding them on every reply.
  • Careful when marking something "high priority" -- you don't want to end up like the boy who cried wolf. Only mark it urgent if it really is urgent.
  • Capitalize and punctuate. It's fairly simple to throw in a few periods, commas and question marks, and makes it easier to understand what you wrote.
  • Please don't include huge attachments that are unsolicited. That means anything over 2MB. If it is over 2MB, ask if it's cool to send through. Easy.
  • Don't send me stupid, time-wasting forwards. I hate it and I can bet all of your friends and colleagues do, too.
  • If you think you are sending a note of warning about spam, please check www.snopes.com. They will let you know if it is real or rumour.
  • If it is a business related email, please don't shorten words or use numbers for words. I understand you may be in a rush, but an email riddled with short forms can come across as a) confusing, b) cryptic, c) unprofessional, d) annoying and e) it's not a text.
  • you ≠ u
    are ≠ r
    for ≠ 4
    to ≠ 2
    great ≠ gr8

  • A quick note on RSVPs for professional events -- identify yourself (especially if you're writing from a personal account like Gmail or Hotmail). Most hosts (or PR companies, in our case) receive lots of other RSVPs, so including your info off the top definitely makes it simpler and faster to track.
  • When replying or forwarding an email, keep the entire message thread. It's more efficient to file one email in a chain instead of three or four. Plus, it saves time when you have to look back on something; you won't have to look up several emails and piece together the entire conversation because all the info will be in one nice tidy chain. I like nice and tidy.
Debra Goldblatt is the founder and president of rock-it promotions, a boutique public relations agency in Toronto, Canada. rock-it promotions creates national campaigns that build recognition and generate positive media coverage for lifestyle, fashion, health, beauty and film clients among many more. A version of this post first appeared on www.onthefourthfloor.com.

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