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Email etiquette

  • Target your email appropriately. Only send it to those people who really need to read it or to take action as a result of its content.
  • Be concise and to the point. Structure your message so that it is easy to understand, make questions and actions clear.
  • Be careful with the Reply to All and cc function. Do all of the recipients of the original message really need to read your response? You should only really use the cc function when the content is relevant to the recipient, it should not be used as a means of coercion.
  • Re-read the email before you send it. This helps to ensure that your message makes sense and may avoid potential misunderstandings later. Once you have clicked the SEND button the email cannot be retrieved.
  • Never assume that because you have sent a message it has arrived.
  • Don’t assume all recipients use the same system. Formatting may be lost when the recipient views the message, so it’s a good idea to treat all messages as plain text unless you know what system the recipient uses.
  • Never say anything in an email about someone else that you would not say directly to that person. Defamation by email can carry the same consequences as by any other medium.
  • Make it clear to the recipient if an email is confidential or you do not wish it to be forwarded to others.
  • Do not pretend you are someone else when sending email. This is fraudulent, and could lead to legal consequences.
  • Remember to treat your email address responsibly. Do not post it on inappropriate websites, and remember that using your email address for on-line bids etc is likely to involve the University administration if disputes occur.
  • To respect peoples’ privacy and not pass emails to others when it is inappropriate to do so, or they have specifically asked you not to.
  • Think carefully about what you write in an email, as your email may be read by many others in addition to the original recipient. For example where emails are forwarded without you knowledge or printed out and left on desks.
  • Use meaningful headings in the subject line. This will help the recipient when prioritising any response required.
  • Indicate level of importance. Overuse of the 'High Importance' option is likely to reduce its impact.
  • Take care when using sarcasm and humour as this is often lost or misunderstood in email.
  • Use an inclusive email signature to communicate to other users: your name, its pronunciation, and your preferred pronouns.
  • Solely using UPPERCASE to write messages – this is considered to be the equivalent of SHOUTING!
  • Sending vulgar, abusive or defamatory messages - apart from being discourteous and offensive, they may break the law. This holds equally true when forwarding on “joke” emails.
  • Sending email attachments to large numbers of people. Consider the use of Files.Warwick as an alternative.
  • Sending programs or executable files (.exe) as attachments as these will be blocked by the email system, as viruses etc are often distributed in this way.
  • Sending personal information via email, for example Credit Card details.