E-mail Etiquette

It is important that at all times you follow the basics of email etiquette. Please see tips below for email etiquette that everyone needs to be aware of and follow.

Sending Emails

  • Make sure your e-mail includes a courteous greeting and closing.
  • Address your contact with the appropriate level of formality and make sure you spelled their name correctly.
  • Spell check
  • Always include a brief Subject. No subject can get your email flagged as spam.
  • Do not type in all caps. That’s yelling or reflects shouting emphasis.
  • Do not use patterned backgrounds. Makes your email more difficult to read.
  • Read your email out loud to ensure that the tone is what you intended. Try to avoid relying on formatting for emphasis; rather choose the words that reflect your meaning instead. A few additions of the words “please” and “thank you” go a long way!
  • Be sure you include all relevant and necessary details. Generalities can often cause confusion and unnecessary emails back and forth to clarify.

If your email is emotionally charged, walk away from the computer and wait to reply. Review the Sender’s email again so that you are sure you are not reading anything into the email that simply isn’t there.

  • Keep emails brief and to the point. Save long conversations for the telephone.
  • Take a quick look at the e-mails in your Delete Items folder before you delete them just in case a good e-mail landed there by mistake.

Email Attachments

  • Never send large attachments without notice.
  • The University provides an alternative means of sharing large files securely, which can be accessed here:  https://www.dropoff.soton.ac.uk/
  • Be sure your virus, adware and spyware programs are up-to-date and include scanning of your emails and attachments both (incoming and outgoing).

To, From, CC, BCc and Reply to all:

  • Include addresses in the To: field for those who you would like a response from and addresses in the Cc: field for those who you are just keeping informed.
  • Remove addresses from the To:, CC; and BCc: field that don’t need to see your reply.
  • Refrain from using the Reply to All feature to give your opinion to those who may not be interested.

Email Forwarding

  • If someone asks you to refrain from forwarding emails they have that right and you shouldn’t take it personally.
  • Don’t forward anything without editing out all the forwarding >>>>, other email addresses, headers and commentary from all the other forwarders.
  • Posting or forwarding of private email is copyright infringement — not to mention being impolite. You need permission from the author first!