Email misunderstandings are frequent and can damage personal and professional relationships. When you compose, send or redistribute electronic mail, consider whether you would make the same statements in a face-to-face discussion with the person or people who will be the recipients.
Following these guidelines will help protect you and others when writing and sending electronic mail:
- Write carefully. Once you send an email message, you cannot take it back or make it disappear. Your messages may be saved for a long time. They may also be read inadvertently by others, or forwarded to others without your knowledge.
- Use upper and lowercase text. Using all uppercase letters means SHOUTING and can be offensive.Sign your messages with at least your name.
- Do not overuse the High Priority option. Overusing this option can diminish its effectiveness when you really need it.
- Address your messages carefully. Some addresses may belong to a group, even though the address appears to belong to just one person.
- Make sure your subject line is meaningful.The subject line should be meaningful to both the recipient and yourself.
- Respect copyrights. Email messages and news posts are included in the types of works that can be copyrighted.
- Be diplomatic. Criticism is always harsher when written, and email can be forwarded easily.
- Be calm. You may have misunderstood what was meant. Don’t reply while you’re still angry; this is called “flaming,” for good reason.
- Be brief. Don't include background images, pictures, animations, etc. unless they are critical to your message. When replying to a message, you don't have to include the entire text of the original message. Include just enough to give the context of your response.
- Watch out for viruses in attached files. Attached files are a common way to spread computer viruses. Opening or running an attachment can infect your computer.