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The Netiquette Code: E-mail Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts

Researchers has discovered that the average American employee spends about a quarter of his work hours trying to reply, sort and defeat the flood of e-mails in his inbox, up to hundreds of e-mails every day.

That busy mode the e-mail keeps us on, does not mean most people know how to utilize and use their email in a way that will benefit them as well.

The overflow of e-mails and stressful work hours can cause embarrassing e-mail mistakes that will take away from your professional image, learning the foundation for great e-mail etiquette can help you improve and enrich the levels of professionalism in your daily work and achieve better results from and with your colleagues.

First rule of e-mail etiquette, always ask yourself: Will you tell a person in his face what you wanted to write in an e-mail? If the answer is NO, revise the e-mail until it answers that same question.

E-mails are our ways to communicate with our environment but it also hold great responsibility. For example: Oliver North, Reagan’s consultant at the time, was charged based on evidence found in his e-mail. The vet-new democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton was also bashed on the media lately for e-mails that were found hiding in her home PC. E-mails are a document with a location (The IP address tells us where the actual email was sent from) time and date, and it can be used against you in the court of law or the field of etiquette!

Net Etiquette, aka as Netiquette, was designed specifically to overcome barriers in e-mail communication, it’s a collection or guidelines and rules that improve our overall e-mail interactions.

As part of my The IBL Code: International Business Language.

Follow those simple guidelines for a better, more productive e-mail conversation!


  • Personalize: Always start an e-mail with the name of the recipient and his title if needed.
  • Confirm and reply: When you receive an e-mail, even if you have no time to answer on that exact moment, send a quick reply to let the person know you received his note.
  • Use the e-mail as a content platform: You have the ability to write longer, more detailed information through an e-mail, as well as send it to multiple people in the same time. Make sure your long e-mail contains all information for progress, to avoid going back and fourth the same email thread.
  • Make it easy on the eyes: Always check the grammar, spelling and design. Make it easier to read using bulletins and headlines if needed. Even though it’s an e-mail, basic letter writing etiquette rules are still relevant.
  • Greet goodbye: Just like you would say goodbye to a colleague, greet your recipient kindly. Adding a personal note such as “Happy Friday” or “good morning” when the time is right can’t hurt as well!
  • Branding for dessert! Always end your e-mail with your contact details, including address, fax etc. If you have a company logo, go ahead and add it as well. The latest trend is to add any social media outlet profile you might have like Facebook or LinkedIn, just make sure your profiles are business appropriate before you share it with your colleagues.
  • Use the Subject line wisely: If you mark your subject clearly, it will be easier to track this e-mail later, to file it and it will serve as a reminder to the recipient of our needs and request.


  • Groups, Fwd and CC: This part can get dangerous and tricky. First of all, avoid adding different co-workers on e-mails that are not relevant to them. Believe me, everyone knows when you add them as a CC “for show” or to cover your bases, so don’t abuse it. The other part is embarrassing situations that can be caused. A good friend of mine just told me her story from a few weeks ago, when she FWD an e-mail and made comments about a client, while not realizing the client was CC’d as well. Check the “Reply all” multiple times and be certain of your recipients, it will take away from your professionalism and can cause serious business damage. If you do FWD an e-mail, add a line explaining yourself and always ask the original writer of the e-mail if you can do so. Don’t get busted transferring or sharing information that is not yours to share.
  • Avoid discreet subjects: If you need to discuss sensitive and discreet information and business issues, the last place you want to do it is your e-mail inbox, where you can be tracked, hacked into or shared easily. Talk about it face to face or on the phone and avoid embarrassment
  • Size does matter: Make sure the font you are writing in is not too small, and pay attention to the overall look of the e-mail, create a comfortable flow of text for the reader and notice the details.
  • Read between the lines: When you receive an e-mail from an unknown source, don’t hurry to engage, even if the person knows your name details, don’t reply right away and check it again. E-mail is a greenhouse for hackers and spammers.
  • Don’t shout please! : Caps lock means screaming usually, so unless you are talking to your friends and you are SUPER EXCITED, skip the caps lock!
  • Utilize shortcuts: Using BTW instead of by the way, or BRB instead of be right back is an acceptable form of e-mail communication. If you are not certain about a specific shortcut, visit, a great, up-to-date site that will clarify new and old terms used.
  • Time is money: Don’t waste your colleague time with nonsense e-mails if they are sitting in the same office, do it in an “old school” fashion, get up and ask them for what you need! E-mails is such a waste of time that researches show that we waste 2 minutes every time we get an e-mail before even opening it! If we get an e-mail 10 times an hour, we wasted 13 minutes of this same hour!

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