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

Follow these tips to make the most of your emails.


Respect the recipient’s time

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


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. Here’s how to get people to read and answer your emails, and make sure you follow these email etiquette rules.

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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. Here’s how to write a perfect email.


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. Keep these annoying phrases out of your email.


Slash surplus CC

CCs are like mating bunnies. For every recipient you add, you are dramatically multiplying total response time.

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Tighten the thread

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


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.

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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.



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

Originally Published in Reader's Digest