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Home  > Article

Email Etiquette

By Aimee Whitenack

Take a crash course in on-the-job email etiquette.

 
Using your corporate email for personal correspondence is a controversial issue. There are no hard-and-fast rules against it.
 
Your first day on the job, you'll likely sign a few forms, shake a slew of hands, and set up your corporate email account. Alas, you're part of the cyberspace connection of your friends and family members - no more missing out on late-breaking gossip and spontaneous social engagements! Before you settle in to send out your new address to all your long-lost college pals, however, take our crash course in professional email etiquette.


Big Brother?

Besides the fact that employers may not appreciate you spending your workday on personal email correspondence, realize also that email to or from a corporate address may be monitored. It's certainly a controversial issue, but there aren't any hard-and-fast rules against it. Also along the legality lines, you should know that chain e-mail (just like its regular postal counterpart) is illegal. It's unlikely that you'll be cuffed for passing along a message to nine of your friends so that the man or woman of your dreams will stumble into your life in the next 48 hours, but we say the email gods won't do much for your love life anyway.

Professional Use
When using email to communicate with coworkers and professional contacts, it's best to keep your message brief and to use the same proper English, grammar, and spelling you would use in any business correspondence, particularly because it is all too easy to misinterpret email. Though there is whole special language for email use (e.g., emoticons-those attempts to form facial expressions with punctuation marks), we suggest you let your colleagues make the first move when it comes to casual correspondence. And to help your recipient reference your email at a later date, always include a subject line in your message.

Sincerely...
Many of today's email software packages allow you to create your own logo or "signature" to include at the end of your message. Signatures are usually comprised of your name, title, email address, postal mail address, phone number, fax number, and any other information you wish to include. We like signatures because they are both professional and convenient - there's no need for your recipient to rustle through Post-it notes or address books if all the information is right there in front of her.

A Key
Just in case you receive an email message in which you can't break the code, we'll help you out:

  • BCNU - be seeing you
  • BTW - by the way
  • FWIW - for what it's worth
  • FAQ - frequently asked questions
  • F2F - face to face
  • FYI - for your information
  • IMHO - in my humble opinion
  • IRL - in real life
  • OBO - or best offer
  • ROTFL - rolling on the floor laughing
  • TTFN - ta ta for now
  • TTYL - talk to you later


(Source: Power Etiquette: What You Don't Know Can Kill Your Career, Dana May Casperson)







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