Techy vs. Tacky: Email Etiquette to Save Face (and Maybe Your Job!)

Posted by Tristan Barnum on Thu, Jul 21, 2011 @ 02:55 AM

Have you ever sent an angry email you later regretted or hit "reply all" when the inside joke about your boss' disco moves at last year's Christmas party was meant only for your close colleague? If not, you're lucky (or slow to hit the send button). Most of us have fallen victim to a hasty reply, and although we send numerous emails every day, we still seem to find ourselves on the bitter end of "sender's remorse" once in a while. With all the practice we have typing up emails, you'd think we'd have perfected the art, but the reality is that because email is such an instant and easy form of communication, proper email etiquette often slips through the cracks.

To help you avoid feelings of despair and regret, here are simple, yet invaluable, tips for email communication from a recent webinar with the Emily Post Institute on "Etiquette in the Digital Age":

  • Let it simmer! If you're angry or not sure what to write, save a draft and revisit it later.

  • The subject line is your first impression. Be clear, concise and compelling!

  • Correct grammar and word choice is imperative. Skipping the spell check with your sister may be OK, but when corresponding professionally it is worth the extra click.

  • Be conscious of your voice. Without facial expressions or tone of voice to consider, CAPS LOCK, emoticons and abbreviations are sometimes not appropriate - interpretation defaults to the negative.

  • "Make love by email and war by phone." When situations get tense, don't hide behind email or IM. Pick up the phone or visit in person.

Follow these tips and you'll be making good impressions with every click. Sender's remorse will be a thing of the past for you and all laughs will be on this guy...

Do you have any funny email slip-up stories? Share your terrifying moments with us here or on the VoxOx Facebook page... We can't wait to laugh "with you"!

Tags: Communication