The Etiquette of Email Communication
Email is an important form of communication in the workplace. Companies do have policies on email, though mainly to protect the assets of the company. I’ve rarely seen in an employee’s handbooks etiquette for creating emails.
Email is one dimensional…you can’t see the other person and they can’t see you. What does this mean? It means that whatever you write, the other person will put in their own meaning. This is true even on the phone, yet this form allows the receiver to hear the tone in your voice and to ask additional questions to clarify. In person, they can also see your eyes and how you position your body. This information provides the receiver with additional information.
When you create an email, always remember that the other person will read from their perspective. When you create emails, you have limited focus and don’t see the other person. If you are frustrated with them and you send an email, you will probably insert your frustration in your words. They will stew over your words and maybe respond, though could hold onto their negative feelings for another time and you won’t know it.
Maybe it isn’t frustration, but rather you are in a joking mood and tease the person. This will most likely be misinterpreted so don’t do it. Even with close associates or friends, don’t be casual with your emails because you never know how it will be read.
Email is not the right form of communication for dealing with conflicting emotions…get out of your seat and go see the person.
- Write the email in Word and put in all your frustrations, jokes and information before reviewing and editing.
- Then step back and review the email with the other person’s perspective. How could they potentially respond to the content? Is there anything in the content that they may misunderstand from your perspective?
- If you have something difficult to say to someone, don’t use email. Call them or even better have a face-to-face meeting to explain your point of view.
For additional tips on email etiquette, read “12 Tips for Better E-mail Etiquette” by Laura Stack on Office.Microsoft.com
Don’t you wish that every person who received a new e-mail account had to agree to follow certain rules to use it? There are certain professional standards expected for e-mail use. Here are some things to keep in mind regarding professional e-mail conduct:
What embarrassing, misunderstood or “wish I never sent” emails have you dealt with? These experiences are great lessons for each of us and when we share it with others, we pass on the lesson. So add your comments.
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