Why is Email Etiquette Important?

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Charles Kinney, Jr.
Most of us know how to use email, but what happens when email etiquette goes wrong? In this video, we'll explore some real-life cases of poor email etiquette, and learn why it is important to follow the rules of good communication.

Email Etiquette

Email etiquette is about respect and common sense. The same respect and professionalism you expect others to show to you is also crucial when writing your own communications. Email is a form of communication. Like written letters, telephone conversations, and face-to-face speech, email is guided by etiquette. We use mutual respect and common sense to guide us in all forms of communication. Let's look at three case studies and see how email etiquette can go wrong, and why it's so important to get it right.

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  • 0:02 Email Etiquette
  • 0:39 Case Study #1
  • 1:25 Case Study #2
  • 2:13 Case Study #3
  • 3:03 Correcting Email Mistakes
  • 3:50 Lesson Summary
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Case Study #1

When arguing by email with a colleague, an employee secretly carbon copies (CCs) the boss in a reply without the colleague's knowledge.

What happened after the email? The employee looked like a tattletale and ultimately left the company. Emails may seem like an instant method of communication, like talking and texting. However, like letters, emails are a written form of communication. When writing a hard copy of a letter to a colleague, most of us would not have waited for a reply and then photocopied all of the letters to send to the boss. Email etiquette demands the same rules as letter writing etiquette, in terms of content, grammar, tone, and proper form.

Case Study #2

When confronted with a mass of emails, an employee sends out an auto-response saying, 'Thank you for your email. As I get so many, I will respond as soon as I can.'

What happened after the email? The employee's co-workers stopped emailing her and left her out of the loop. The auto-response came across as arrogant, as nearly everyone gets emails. It would be considered rude to use a telephone greeting saying, 'Thanks for your phone call. As I get lots of phone calls, I'll get back to you as soon as I can.' The same rules apply to email etiquette. That's why you should reply to email in a timely and appropriate matter, just like you use a friendly telephone greeting and return telephone messages quickly to show respect for your colleagues and friends.

Case Study #3

A secretary resigns, after which a colleague sends out an email to other employees asking for a better-looking replacement. The resigning secretary accidentally sees the email.

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