Information Technology Services

Email Etiquette

Electronic mail is about communication. Clarity should be our goal. The following may be used as guidelines for email etiquette:

Subject line: Make the subject line meaningful. Its often the only clue the recipient has about the contents when filing & searching for messages.

Message length: Don't type your message in all uppercase as it's extremely difficult to read. A short stretch of uppercase may serve to emphasise a point. Try to break your message into logical paragraphs & restrict your sentences to sensible length.

Annotating text: Quote back only the smallest amount you need to make your context clear.

Replies: Pay attention to where your reply is going to end up, especially if the message has been forwarded to you.

Avoiding email anger: The ease of email makes abuse easy too. To avoid this, observe the following:

  • Think before you send, don't respond in anger.
  • Put a one-hour delay on your email in case you need to cool down or rethink it.
  • Treat email as you would any other publication, don't say anything you wouldn't say in print.
  • Remember that email is a record that can be saved forever and can also be forwarded to anyone and everyone without your knowledge.



Doublecheck the address to save yourself from a potentially embarrassing situation.

When you receive email, don't over-read it, recognise that each time you read it, it can cut a little deeper and that is probably not what the sender intended. Try starting your message with the person's name and include your own at the end.


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