Mind Your Basic Email P’s and Q’s


My mother is a member of her neighborhood’s homeowners association. When I hear some of the tales of accidental Reply All’s, Blind Carbon Copy emails, misinterpreted tone and other email blunders, I wonder how something as basic as email etiquette is still the cause of so many misunderstandings. So, while cleaning out my press release folder, I came across this tip sheet from communication expert and author Roshini Rajkumar. It’s at least 10 months old, so a bit old for SUCCESS.com, but the information is always relevant. You can forward this to your board members, Mom.

  • Proof your post or email—two or three times. Grammatical errors and typos are so easy to fix, and when you post content with typos, you’re sending a message about yourself, the wrong message.
  • Have a purpose for the message you’re sending or posting. Make sure your post is to the point and clear. If you can’t follow it, how do you expect your followers to? Be short, be precise and be smart.
  • Auto addressing. Your computer will happily fill in the email address when you start typing, but just the same way you don’t want anyone finishing your sentences for you, be sure to double check who your computer wants to send the email to.
  • Look at your distribution list for emails. DO NOT “reply all” if your question or response is only for one person or worse, it contains confidential information or negative information that should not be shared.  On that note, you can not control what someone else may or may not do with your email so if you don’t want the information shared, be sure to indicate that when you send it out.
  • Respect the privacy of others and the confidentiality of their communication to you. Do not forward emails you receive from others without getting the author’s permission.
  • Ask yourself: Would you say it this exact way if you were looking the person in the eye?
  • This is especially true with e-mail communication. Taken out of context many e-mails and posts can be misconstrued. Example; sarcasm is often very hard to interpret over the internet.
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