By Jenifer Tull-Gauger

E-mail and online networking sites make it quick and easy to communicate, keep up with friends and get to know new acquaintances.  My use of such things is limited and my knowledge is basic.  However, I always have an eye out and an ear open toward improving respect and safety in our lives.  I would like to share what I have learned.


A) Send one e-mail per topic or subject.

B) Use the subject line to tell the main idea of the e-mail.

C) DO NOT USE ALL CAPS LIKE I AM HERE.  THIS IS LIKE I AM YELLING AT YOU!  dont use all lower case and do remember punctuation unlike i did here  (We are putting some effort into communicating, not confusing people.)

D) If you are writing about a potentially touchy or emotionally-charged subject, create a draft first.  Set it aside for a while.  Re-read the draft while trying to put yourself in the receiver’s point of view.  Consider changing the draft to better reflect your experienced integrity and compassionate world view.  If it’s still iffy, you might do better speaking to them on the phone or in person.

E) Avoid sarcasm, as well as playfully making fun of people (unless you are rarely and highly skilled with the written word).  The only person I know who can consistently do this without confusing or offending others is Sempai.

F) Try to keep it short and to-the-point.

G) When used for business, it is professional to respond to e-mails within 24 hours, or one business day.  If you need more time, send an acknowledgement that you received the message and that you will respond as soon as you are able.  (For dojo business, my goal is to do the above with the exception of weekends.)

H) Not everyone uses an e-mail program that can display colors and graphics, so you may want to avoid embedding them.

I) Avoid forwarding chain letters or warnings that you have not verified, especially to someone’s work address.  It takes many employees a couple of hours every day to go over e-mail.

J) Be sparing with group e-mail. Send group e-mail only when it’s useful to every recipient. Use the “reply all” button only when compiling results requiring collective input and only if you have something to add. Recipients get quite annoyed to open an e-mail that says only “Me too!”  (This tip is from Laura Stack.)

E-mail has made it easier to communicate with family, friends and business associates.  It simplifies and expedites many job processes (and fun projects!).  Overuse and misuse can make e-mail more of a burden than a helpful tool.  Using these etiquette tips will help make e-mailing more pleasant and useful.  Next time I would like to talk about savvy for using the web.