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The Ropes

A Few Email Tips

By Barbara McClintock, Certified Translator

Email is one of the most common modes of communication. Managing email can be quite time consuming. Here are a few reminders of email etiquette and efficiency you may already know about. Hopefully, you will find this list useful to avoid some common faux pas.

Message priority (!)

To avoid being annoying, try not to use the “priority message” (!) function unless it is an emergency (mea culpa). Experts say that if you really need to attract the recipient’s attention, try to reach them on the phone.


Only send your manager a carbon copy (CC) if it is absolutely necessary to limit everybody’s stress and the number of emails that are circulating.

Reply all

Check your message before sending it to make sure you have not committed this faux pas. If you have to send your message to more than one person, make sure you erase the message chain below it to avoid lengthy messages or just in case it contains something inappropriate or confidential. If it really is confidential, be sure to write “confidential” clearly at the top of the message and take any other security precautions that are required.

However, if the message slips away from you and you have sent your vacation photos to the entire management staff, be sure to send a follow-up message to indicate that it was a mistake or simply that you would like to withdraw your message.

Saving time

You can save time finding an email if you use the “sort by” function on the right side of your screen and sort messages received by the sender’s name if you do not know the date. It is also easy to delete blocks of emails by the sender’s name.

Subject line

Also, remember to change your subject line to reflect the topic covered in your email. This will save a lot of time for both the recipient and you. Some people receive hundreds of emails a day and need to sift through them quickly in order to prioritize. Finally, if you want the topic on the subject line to be your content, just write End in the message space. Only do this if you are sure it will not seem rude, however. Always keep in mind that short messages, even “OK,” may be construed as rude. That’s why people often write “Great! OK” or include something else with OK.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

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