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HR Magazine: 10 E-Mail Guidelines

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HR Magazine, July 2001Vol. 46, No. 7

Don't Touch That 'Send' Button!

  1. Don’t use your in-box as a catchall folder. Read items once, then answer immediately, delete or move to a project-specific folder.
  2. Agree on company acronyms for subject lines, such as “AR” for action required or “MFR” for monthly financial report.
  3. Send group mail sparingly—use only when useful to all recipients. Use “reply all” and “cc” with caution.
  4. Ask to be removed from distribution lists you do not need to be on.
  5. Use the “out of office” feature and voice mail message to alert people when you are traveling.
  6. Before sending an attachment in a particular format, make sure the recipient can open it.
  7. Avoid sending attachments and graphics to people on the road, unless absolutely necessary. Such attachments can be slow to download. Post large attachments (more than 5 MB) on a web page instead.
  8. Be specific and helpful. If you send a 30-page attachment, point out critical information on certain pages.
  9. Collect what you have to say in one e-mail rather than send one message per thought.
  10. Respond to your messages as quickly as possible, preferably by the end of the same day.
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