By Audrey Thomas

Business etiquette in the office is important. And even though e-mail is regarded by some as an informal means of communication, it's still important to follow standard etiquette guidelines when using it. Here's a brief list of promises that every employee should commit to. Share this at your next staff meeting—or even hang it in the hallway! You can download the list as a poster for free.


I Promise to Start:

1. Making my subject line descriptive and meaningful

2. Getting to the point of my e-mail within the first two sentences

3. Copying only those necessary

4. Using the BCC (blind courtesy copy) feature when sending an e-mail to a group of individuals who do not know one another

5. Only sending e-mails to those who need them

6. Reading (and proofing) every message before hitting send

7. Putting requests in bulleted or numbered format, along with deadlines

8. Picking up the phone when I need a quick response

9. Communicating clearly to my reports my expectations on being copied on their e-mails

10. Using a professional, standardized signature block at the end of each e-mail


I Promise to Stop:

1. Over-using the High Importance (!) symbol

2. Attaching a Read Receipt unnecessarily to e-mails

3. Copying my boss on all of my e-mails

4. Using smiley face emoticons as a way to communicate sarcasm

5. Sending e-mails that simply say “Got it,” “Thanks,” or “FYI”

6. Sending e-mail late at night or on weekends when I’m trying to clean up my inbox

7. Sending long, rambling e-mails


9.  Hitting “Reply All” when only the original sender needs my response

10. Using text-messaging abbreviations in e-mails

Source: Productivity expert Audrey Thomas, otherwise known as Organized Audrey. Find out more about Audrey as a speaker, consultant, and author at her Web site, where you can also subscribe to her fantastic newsletters. You can check her out on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter as well.