Email Etiquette Rule #1

Email remains a vital business tool. And, for many reasons, it is one we love to hate. If we all follow a few etiquette rules, email can become much more useful and much less painful.

Here is Email Etiquette Rule #1:

Use at most one emotional word per email.

If what we have to communicate is at all emotionally charged for us or for our recipient, we are much better to use email to schedule a live (in person or over the phone) meeting to discuss the issue.

Tempting as it may be to use email to avoid an uncomfortable conversation, don’t do it. Email (and all text) is a very narrow pipe for communication. It can’t handle –even with emoji–the nuances we send and receive in live conversation. We will be much more likely to miscommunicate, misinterpret, and misunderstand each other. And we will very likely fail to resolve the original issue without significant reworking and revisiting the topic.

Of course, we must have emotionally charged conversations. Just not over email.

We can express some emotion over email. If we limit ourselves to one word of emotion per email, we will usually be safe. Examples include, “I am very happy to hear that,” and, “I am frustrated at our lack of progress.”


In your corner,



PS: One way to tell if an email is emotionally charged is to ask ourselves how we feel while composing it.


Today’s photo courtesy of Free-Photos.

Leave a Reply