E-mail Etiquette

Any form of communication is most effective if it conforms to etiquette acceptable to both the sender and the recipient of the message. Since there is no audible or visual link between the participants of e-mail messages, a special etiquette has evolved to take its place.

  • Be concise - long messages often lose their emphasis.

  • The use of all capital letters is generally interpreted as SHOUTING.

  • Many people like to use a signature containing their name, address, graphic, or quotation. Usually, your name and e-mail address are sufficient.

  • If you have received a message as a part of a group of recipients (such as from a listserv), consider a reply to only the author rather than to the entire group. This is especially true when the author is conducting a survey or asking a question of the entire group. If the responses are of interest to the group, the original author should post a summary of the responses after a reasonable length of time.

  • If you choose to forward an e-mail message, consider deleting any other e-mail addresses in the header of that e-mail in order to protect the privacy of others.

  • As with any written form of communication, attention to proper grammar, spelling, etc. will convey your message most effectively. However, e-mail is often a very informal means of communication, so don't complain publicly about another individual's mistakes.

  • Remember that even though the medium is electronic, the recipient of the message is another human.

  • Respond as a matter of courtesy in a timely matter.

Contact: ITS Help Desk

Reviewed February 24, 2014