Email Etiquette

Write carefully. Once you send an email message, you cannot take it back or make it disappear.

General Guidelines

  • You represent Panola College; therefore, all written communication should reflect an expectation of professionalism.
  • Use principles of good writing and pay attention to spelling, grammar, punctuation, and word usage.
  • Format and design your message for clarity.
  • Avoid using emoticons, graphic background or wallpaper in business emails.
  • Use high-priority flags only when necessary.
  • Emails are not essays. If the text is long, consider an attachment.
  • Use abbreviations sparingly.
  • Common courtesy is always welcomed and appreciated in written communication and helps to promote two-way communication.
  • Avoid offensive or slang language of any kind.      
  • Be mindful that email is not private. (Emails can be easily forwarded and/or Bcc’d to others.)
  • Be patient while waiting for a response.

Sending

  • Send messages only to those who need to read them. Be careful how you use Bcc because it can cause unexpected complications.
  • Use standard email format.
  • Use reply to all only when necessary.
  • Include meaningful subject lines.
  • Begin message with a salutation.
  • Use clear and informative signature files, and include your e-mail address, phone number and address when necessary.
  • Use the inverted pyramid form of writing. Your most important statements should appear in the first paragraph.       Follow up with supporting details.
  • Keep paragraphs short for easy reading.
  • Use the spell check or consult grammar and style manuals.
  • Re-read your message one last time before you send it.
  • When forwarding email (if you must), remove headers from previous mailings -- including the email addresses -- if any.
  • Use “Request Delivery” and “Read Receipt” sparingly.       Consider asking for a response from your reader within your email message.
  • Be careful how you use Bcc because it can cause unexpected complications.

Responding

  • It is best not to forward a message or attachment without the author’s permission. Asking for permission to forward a message or attachment demonstrates your integrity in personal and business communications.
  • Never respond in the heat of the moment.