As one of the most common forms of communication in the business environment, email is governed by certain rules of etiquette. First and foremost, email should be treated like any formal correspondence, even though it can be sent from the most informal of situations. Proper spelling and grammar should be used at all times, with appropriate salutations and signatures included. Senders should avoid using abbreviations, acronyms, or overly technical jargon, unless one is confident the recipient will understand. Even though correspondence can be sent while one waits in line at Starbucks, it should not reflect poorly on one’s professionalism or common courtesy. Secondly, email etiquette suggests that a reply be sent in a timely fashion. Again, because communication in this format is so easy and convenient, individuals should do their best to reply as soon as possible, even if the reply is merely to acknowledge receipt of the initial communication.
When sending emails, there are guidelines to be followed, as well. If one is sending the same email to multiple parties, using the “blind carbon copy” or “BCC” feature allows for the recipients to reply only to the sender; the recipient will not see the names or email addresses of others who received the same correspondence. If a sender wants to include a secondary party on the correspondence, they can be included in the “BCC” field, or the email can be forwarded after it has been sent to the original recipient. It is also worth noting that senders can flag their emails to provide a “read receipt” when the email is delivered and/or the recipient opens the email. This can provide a greater sense of security, knowing the correspondence was received. Because email is a written record, content should always be professional and appropriate; personal chatter, one-line responses, and messages written in anger should be avoided at all costs.