E-Mail Code of Conduct: 9 Tips to Control Your Inbox

Say goodbye to clogged inboxes and streamline communication with this straightforward going to email etiquette. Your co-workers will thank you, trust us.

By Chris Anderson (from the Washington Post) from Reader's Digest magazine | April 2012

1) Respect recipients’ time.

The onus is on the sender to minimize the time e-mail takes to process.

2) Give some leeway.

It’s OK if replies take a while to come back and if the responder doesn’t give detailed responses to all your questions.

3) Be clear.

Start with a subject line that clearly describes the topic. If the e-mail is longer than five
sentences, provide your reason for writing in the first line.

4) Avoid open-ended questions.

Don’t send a four-paragraph e-mail followed by “Thoughts?” Even well-intended open questions like “How can I help?” may not be that helpful.

5) Slash surplus CCs: CCs are like mating bunnies.

For every recipient you add, you are dramatically multiplying total response time.

6) Tighten the thread:

It’s rare that an e-mail thread should extend to more than three e-mails.

7) Attack attachments:

Don’t use graphics files as logos or signatures that appear as attachments. Also, don’t send text as an attachment when it could have been included
in the body of the e-mail.

8) Cut contentless responses.

A response saying “Thanks for your note … I’m in” does not call for you to reply “Great.” That just cost someone another 30 seconds.

9) Disconnect.

If we all agreed to spend less time e-mailing, we’d all get less e-mail!

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