Email Etiquette

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Email etiquette refers to a set of dos and don'ts that are recommended by business and communication experts in response to the growing concern that people are not using their email effectively or appropriately. Since email is part of the virtual world of communication, many people communicate in their email messages the same way they do in virtual chat rooms: with much less formality and sometimes too aggressively. Email etiquette offers some guidelines that all writers can use to facilitate better communication between themselves and their readers. One overall point to remember is that an email message does not have non-verbal expression to supplement what we are "saying." Most of the time we make judgments about a person's motives and intentions based on their tone of voice, gestures, and their proximity to us. When those are absent it becomes more difficult to figure out what the message sender means. It is much easier to offend or hurt someone in email and that is why it is important to be as clear and concise as possible. Electronic mail (E-mail) cannot replace personal contact. David Angell states that electronic email has many advantages, "…eliminates phone tag, …breaks down the distance and time barriers of telephone calls and traditional written communication, …shortens the cycle of written communication, …improves productivity, …creates flexibility…by reducing telephone interruptions." (Angell-Heslop 2). There is a tendency to be less formal or careful, which can sometimes provoke anger. Remember that direct, person-to-person contact is best for handling sensitive, difficult, complex, or emotional issues. Therefore, a company needs to implement etiquette rules for the following three reasons: professionalism, by using proper email language your company will convey a professional image, efficiency, emails that get to the point are much more effective than poorly worded emails, and protection from liability: employee awareness of email risks will...
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