Email Etiquette: How to Send and Not Offend Online

Course Outcomes

This email etiquette course will:

  • Explain when email is and is not an appropriate communication tool.
  • Provide a thorough overview of email etiquette and best practices for sending digital correspondence.
  • Offer tactics for organizing and managing an inbox.
  • Address the law as it relates to email.

Course Overview

Email is the source of a lot of miscommunication. Maybe it’s the tone that was off. Perhaps the wrong people received a message. It could also have been the thread that took on a life of its own. Whatever the problem, an understanding of and adherence to good email etiquette can reduce or eliminate most issues related to digital communication. This course covers the ins and outs of writing courteous correspondence. Upon request, we can incorporate a client’s case studies, examples, and samples.

Program Objectives

At the program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Identify the benefits and drawbacks of email.
  • Explain when email is not an appropriate tool.
  • Adhere to basic rules of email etiquette.
  • Describe the importance of planning a message.
  • Select the correct recipients.
  • Choose effective subject lines.
  • Apply a proven framework for creating polite reader-centric text.
  • Use an appropriate signature.
  • Describe the basics of how the law and email interact.
  • Better manage an active inbox.

The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of the participant materials prior to the session(s).

Workshop Outline

Benefits and Drawbacks: Understanding Email

This course opens with a review of the benefits and drawbacks of email. During an active discussion, participants will identify the factors that can make email effective and those that negatively influence how a message is understood by its readers.

Think First: Email Lives Forever

Unlike a verbal conversation or traditional letter, email has a digital footprint. And despite the effort people might take to erase their tracks, digital data has a way of surviving most attempts at deletion. This part of the program emphasizes the importance of thinking before typing. Participants will also review their legal obligations and what they can and can’t expect in terms of privacy.

The Need for Speed: A Single Rapid Reading

The goal of most email messages is speed. In other words, readers should be able to understand what they read without having to take a second look, consult a dictionary, or whip out archeological tools to uncover the writer’s main point. This part of the program examines how the choices writers make can influence the clarity of their messages.  During this portion of the course, participants will review several samples and modify them for greater clarity.

It’s Not Rocket Surgery: The Overlooked Formula 

Great email messages tend to follow a formula. That isn’t to say they are scripted. Rather, they include distinct elements that help readers understand the writer’s intention. This seminar segment walks participants through a proven framework for creating courteous and clear messages. Once they have an understanding of the components of a well-written message, group members will evaluate a series of messages and revise them to adhere to the template.

Copy That: Additional Rules of Etiquette

In addition to understanding when to use email and the formula for creating reader-centric text, writers must also know to whom they should send messages, when to use the blind copy function, when they should expect a reply, and so forth. This part of the workshop explores those topics and other questions of etiquette.

Mailbox Management: Leveraging Technology Tools

“When I get to work, there are 100+ messages waiting for me.” “I don’t have enough hours in the day to read everything.” “Salutations are nice, but who has time for all that?” Sound familiar? Probably. This final course segment looks at tools and tricks for organizing and managing email. While the workshop focuses on strategies specific to Microsoft Outlook, those who use other programs should gain value from the non-application-focused guidance offered.

By the conclusion of this email etiquette program, participants should have an understanding of email etiquette, their legal obligations related to email, the formula for creating strong email, and tools to gain control of a mailbox.