Santa with laptopimage sourceHighsmith, Carol M. "Santa poses in Carol Highsmith's studio in Washington, DC." Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

3 Email Etiquette Tips for the Holidays

December 12, 2012

It’s that time of year when cards and invitations are spread with holiday cheer. But you don’t have to be a Grinch or Scrooge to be annoyed by a constantly full inbox. Too much email can make the most wonderful time of the year anything but, not to mention decreasing productivity and increasing security risks for your business network.

Here’s how to be part of the solution.

1. Make a list, check it twice.

That’s how Santa handles his job, and it’s how your business can get a grip on its email. Develop a policy for emails in the workplace. When’s a phone call more appropriate, or a face-to-face? How should personal emails (like holiday invitations) be handled: anyone posting, or handled by one gatekeeper? Policies are good to have for spam blocking software as well, since you’ll have rules ready to plug in upon installation.

2. Be short, for goodness sake.

Business email is not the place for long-winded speeches or cutesy inside jokes. After writing your email, save (don’t send!) and read it again after getting other jobs done. Delete anything not appropriate to your message/invitation. Think about whether you’d want an existing client to read the email, and rewrite as needed. Also, avoid the cardinal sin of not including a subject line: that could get your email deleted as spam.

3. Better not cry.

If you click send and immediately wish you hadn’t, don’t cry, pout, or blindly send another email apologizing for the first one. Seek out a superior, explain the situation, and work together to find a solution. If it’s a reply all when it should have been sent to one person, the explanation might come better from your boss. If it’s something dumb or inaccurate you sent to a client, a phone call might be the best way to apologize. Above all, think about what you’re going to do before doing it (the opposite’s what got you in the fix in the first place).