Email Etiquette Rule #6

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 #6:

Say less.

Given their busyness, we cannot expect our readers to spend lots of time with our emails. We will have more impact if we limit both the length and frequency of the emails we send.

A good rule of thumb for the length of an email is one screenful. If our readers need to scroll, we may lose their attention. If you have more to say, set a meeting or pick up the phone.

The right frequency of emails depends on your relationship with each reader and the projects you’re working on. One rough measure of good email frequency is the number of times you’d speak to your reader if there was no email. Pretend it’s 1987 and no one has email. If someone sat 50 paces away from your desk, how often would you speak to them live or over the phone? Send emails roughly as frequently.

When we limit how much we email, what we do send stands out.


In your corner,


PS: Of course, attached documents are usually longer than one screenful. If your email includes a request of your reader to review a document, make sure the text introducing the document stays within one screenful.

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