Email Etiquette

Michael Hyatt, whose blog I enjoy immensely, has posted what he calls “18 suggestions for better e-mail communication and etiquette.” I encourage you to pop over to his blog and check out his full list.

In the meantime, here are my favorite of his tips:

Don’t overuse the “high priority” flag. Most e-mail programs allow you to set the priority of the message. “High priority” should be reserved for messages that are truly urgent. If you use it for every message (as one person I know does), you will simply be ignored. It’s like the boy who cried “wolf” one too many times.

This drives me nuts. There are some people who assign a high priority to every email that they send. If you need an immediate response, you should be able to convey that in some manner other than applying a special colored flag to the message. Also, high priority often just means, “I forgot to do this on time. Therefore, I need an answer from you now.” That’s not a high priority. That’s bad planning.

Don’t discuss multiple subjects in a single message. If you need to discuss more than one subject, send multiple e-mails. This makes it easy to scan subject lines later to find the message you need. It also contributes to briefer e-mail messages and a greater likelihood of a response. Also, the more specific you can be about your subject heading, the better.

Great advice. I keep all of my emails. Doing this makes it easier to file and sort emails.

Use a signature with your contact information. This is a courtesy for those receiving your messages. It also cuts down on e-mail messages, since people don’t have to send a second or third e-mail asking for your phone number or mailing address.

If you send me an email, make sure that I know how to contact you back by email, telephone, regular mail, fax machine, etc.

Check out the post, and follow up on the other great tips that Michael offers.