Volume 99, June 2009: E-mail Etiquette

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

This is a monthly electronic magazine for anyone who wants to be a better leader, coach, facilitator, or simply, to tune up their people skills. It is a complimentary publication, devoted to the next evolution of Quality Thinking.

Publisher: © Key Associates, LLC, 2009 ISSN # 1545-8873

“Manners apply even at the monitor.” — LifeScript.com

“Never do or say anything that you would not want to see printed on the front page of the newspaper.” — My Mother

“Speak with people – not at them … or about them.” — Walk the Talk “Basic Training” on respect

“Leadership is an action, not a position.” — Donald H. McGannon


  • What’s Hot in Leadership
  • Maintaining Yourself as a Leader
  • Frequently Asked Questions from Leaders
  • Educational Opportunities
  • Useful Websites & Newsletters
  • Articles/Publications

What’s Hot in Leadership

  • Polishing the skills of electronic communication.
  • Business writing skills – tight and right.
  • Teaching techno-etiquette to your staff.
  • Respecting the electronic space of others.

Maintaining Yourself as a Leader

What leader is not inundated with emails and sent riffling through overstuffed in-boxes? Many of us would complain that there is a considerable overuse of technology with very little techno-etiquette.

Manners matter. The grace, charm, and respect that enhance any communication apply to electronic methods.

However, the techno solutions are no substitute for human interaction. Social processes – having a conversation, socializing, hanging out, MBWA (management by wandering around), having a meeting – are for relationship building and are more powerful as two-way communication tools. Don’t neglect them to hide behind a screen (monitor).

Frequently Asked Questions

“What are the rules for writing and sending emails?”
  • Keep it short and simple, including short paragraphs
  • Use a greeting, such as “Dear Colleagues,” or “Good Morning,”
  • Sign off with courtesy, like “Sincerely, ” or “Best Regards,”
  • Use all caps sparingly (the equivalent of shouting), unless you need italics
  • Respect the electronic space of others – don't clutter their In Box
  • Do not overuse the Reply to All or cc:
  • Invitations and thank you notes are probably better sent some other personal way
  • Limit each message to one subject area
  • Use the Subject line in a meaningful way – especially if the reader doesn’t know you
  • Don’t send out anything that you would consider Confidential (everything is discoverable)
  • Use your signature feature, with contact information
  • Keep the tone professional
  • In large mailings, protect the email identity of others by using the bcc: feature or mail merge
  • Proofread and spell-check, as with any document
“What about receipt of emails?”
  • Respond within 24 hours
  • Do not forward an email unless you think the sender would approve
  • Do not forward chain mail
  • Do not embroil others in volleying arguments or CYA memos
“What about company policies?”
More and more companies are monitoring email use, and confining it to job-related or company business only. There is no privacy protection or entitlement, once the email is sent – everything is discoverable. Some of the more embarrassing moments are job-hunting or running down other employees, management or the company.
“What if I send out a blooper or a regretted message?”
In hurried or overly emotional states, we sometimes send out mistaken missives. If it is to a small audience, immediately call and apologize. If it is to a large audience, immediately send a new email message, with a blanket apology.

Exercises And Action Items:

  • Establish company policy and teach protocol in electronic communication.
  • Think about your email communication – before, during, and after it is written and sent.


The most comprehensive site on e-mail etiquette: NetManners.

Email etiquette seminar: Productivity and Time Management Training.

Certification in e-mail etiquette: Email Etiquette.

Key Associates offers courses, with modules in leadership development. Several address ethics, business communication, and corporate etiquette. Contact us for more information.

Useful Websites & Newsletters

Tips on how to create effective e-mail messages: includes e-mail etiquette rules, sample e-mail policies and lists of e-mail management software: Email etiquette.

A good example of e-mail protocol from Yale Library: What is netiquette?.

Learn the net: E-mail Etiquette.

Keyzines on related topics: Minding Manners, Time Management, On Reflective Writing, Simplify, Employee Engagement, Civility, and Customer Etiquette.



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