A Timely Reminder Of Email Best Practices

I put this together some time ago. A compilation of things I have learned from experience and from others. The topic has come up a lot lately, so I thought I would share this with you.

Professor Albert Mehrabian’s research into verbal communication is often quoted in this simplified form:

Words – 7%,  Tone – 38% – Body Language – 55%

Email, being only words without tone and body language, leaves the reader with fewer queues for interpretation. For this reason, recommended email best practices are:

  • Email is for communication, not conversation
  • Use Email for two purposes: transmit information or schedule meetings
  • Choose your words carefully, sometimes slang words, e.g. “yeah” can be misinterpreted
  • After 1 response – pick up the phone
  • Reply only to the sender
  • Reply to all – ONLY if sender requests or the information in your reply will benefit everyone on the distribution list
  • Only put in an Email something you would want to appear on the internet, on a billboard, in the news – you get the idea
  • Don’t send an Email when you are angry – see previous bullet
  • Never negotiate via Email
  • Never send an important Email w/o an advance phone call and a follow-up phone call to discuss and prevent/correct misunderstandings
  • Be brief, most people read Emails on their IPhone, Android, etc.
  • When sending an important Email, ask someone else to read it before sending it, with three questions:
    • What would you think?
    • How would you feel?
    • What would you do?

Anything you would add?

Elisa K. Spain