Mastering Internal Email Etiquette

Internal email is a great way to communicate with colleagues across the room or around the world. However, it is still important to remember some basic rules when emailing a colleague.


1. Send emails only when necessary
First, remember that everyone gets many emails each day. The business person has a lot to do, so do not email them if you do not have something important to say. Resist the urge to include everyone in the same email. If you would not share that information in a business meeting with that person there is probably no need to email it to them.

2. Confidentiality
Secondly, watch confidentiality. This especially is important in the medical field and educational fields. Ask yourself if each recipient of the email has the right to know the information. Only send it to those who have the right to know. Gossip is never acceptable in a business email.

3. Use Professional Grammar and Spelling
Avoid poor grammar, poor spelling and abbreviations in internal emails. Abbreviations that may be appropriate in text messages are not appropriate in emails. You are in a business setting and your emails represent you and the company that you work for. Make a great impression with professional internal emails and you may find yourself moving up the career ladder quickly.

It is never appropriate to capitalize all the letters of an email. This is the equivalent of screaming at a person. You would probably never scream in an office setting. Do not send a screaming office email either.

4. Get to the point quickly 
We all have a jam packed schedule. Make each word count. Do not feel that you need to fill the whole page when just a few words will do. Respect the time of the person you are emailing by keeping your emails short and to the point.

5. Use a meaningful subject lines
Since many emails today are read on mobile devices try to keep the subject line below 60 characters including spaces. This will allow the entire subject line to show on a mobile device. Since who is sending the email is included in the address, there is no need to include this in the subject line also.

6. Agree on a Priority Code
If your company has a code to identify priority emails, use it. This shows a sign of respect for the person that is receiving the email. It helps that person prioritize the emails that they receive each day. Then if you need to send them something very important, they will be more likely to read and answer it quickly.

If your company does not presently have a code set up, here is one that you can suggest:
• Level 5 – Urgent, do not even go to the bathroom before you read this email
• Level 4– Demanding, you would really like the recipient to take action before the end of business
• Level 3– Crucial, the recipient needs the information, but no action is required
• Level 2– Necessary, the recipient may need to know this information at a future time
• Level 1– A great idea that may be useful

7.Start your emails with a greeting
In most businesses, it does not have to be a formal one. Watch what your colleagues are doing and follow along. At the end of your email, sign your name. The recipient of the email, even when short, may get interrupted several times since they opened the email.

8. Never be abusive
When it is necessary to talk about someone in an email remember to say only things you would say to that person’s face. Remember the ease at which emails can be forwarded. If you break this rule, it will come back to haunt you in the future.

Following this internal email etiquette will help you have a successful career. People will learn to respect that you are at work to accomplish important tasks. You will find that you are succeeding very quickly.   Once you have mastered internal e-mail you might want to move onto subjects like difficult e-mails and e-mail priority, enjoy!

[author ]This was an article contributed by Frank, Frank writes for Aon Hewitt the Employee Benefits Consultancy and in his spare time spends time likes to cycle, if you have any e-mail tips, please comment below, i’d love to know hear your comments![/author]

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