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EMAIL ETIQUETTE Email messages have become an important part of business communication today.

Often, many business contacts are made entirely using email message; therefore the email message is often the only means a client can use to form impressions of us and our organization. The importance of email communication to business suggests that great care should be taken in writing email messages. Organisations should ensure that their employees practice good email etiquette. An example of how improper email etiquette could result in unfortunate communication and embarrassment will be presented below. Sixth months after being recruited as Director of Information Technology at a government ministry, Mr. P. sent an email to all employees in the organisation (see Appendix.) The email message breached several rules governing good email etiquette, which resulted in embarrassment for the director and the Information Technology Department in general. Tone The first observation was the tone of the message. The message appeared to have been written with undue haste. Portions of the email were capitalized and underlined for emphasis. The email also made improper use of red coloured letters. In addition the message referenced an Information Technology Policy that did not exist in the organization. When documents are referenced in an email, it is good practice to provide a copy as an attachment to the email. Taken together the above mentioned faults resulted in an offensive tone, which immediately caused resentment in the recipient when it was received. The director had not taken the time to do an investigation into the alleged breach before sending the faulty email. Improperly Addressed Interestingly, Mr. P had breach the organization communications policy by using the email system to send the offensive email. The organization communication policy specifically stated that all communications that are sent to all staff must be sent by the

communication department or the Human Resources department.

As a result the

employees email group was protected to ensure that this policy was adhered to. The director had used his privileged access to the Information Technology infrastructure to give himself access to the email group which allowed him to send the email to all employees, over eight hundred including officers located in regional offices. relevant employees were only those at the head office. Improper Use of Punctuations and Capitalizations The Email incorrectly used capitalization and punctuation. A business email should adhere to the conventions of good punctuations and capitalization. The rules governing capitalization and punctuations of a good business letter should be adopted for business email messages. It is inappropriate to write sentences in all capitals or all small letters. This is poor business etiquette and suggests lack of education or laziness. This practice does not convey confidence or authority and could discourage people from wanting to communicate with you and your organization. Improper Sentence Structure Often times email message are written using improper sentence structure as in the offended email in this case. Once again, this is poor business etiquette and should not be done. Business email should always follow proper sentence construction. This is necessary for the same reasons as mentioned above. Edit and Re-Edit Before hitting the send key, ensure that you edit and re-edit your message. Another, problem with the offending email from Mr. P. was the obvious lack of editing. The email contained several spelling errors that could easily have been corrected with the use of a spell checker included in most email software. embarrassment resulting from the email. This also added to the level of The

APPENDIX
Email Message:

D. P. to employees

Title: Listening to Radio Stations Via Ministry Network

Hello Colleagues, I have just been advised of a practice that is currently taking here at the Ministry. I am advised that there are several persons who have been listening to streaming radio programmes available on The Internet via our local area network network. This creates unecessarily high network traffic and has been slowing our network and Internet connection here at Head Office. I have also been advised that there are persons who take their personal laptops to work and that some of these persons have been carrying out this practice. This is a breach of acceptible use of Ministry computing and network resources. Needless to say THIS IS NOT ACCEPTIBLE AND MUST BE STOPPED IMMEDIATELY. IF ANYONE IS FOUND ENGAGING IN THE PRACTICE I WILL PERSONALLY RECCOMMEND THAT THEY BE BROUGHT BEFORE THE MINISTRY'S DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE FOR BREACHING THE ACCEPTIBLE USE POLICY. I WILL ALSO RECCOMMEND THAT THEY GET THE MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE PENALTY. BE SO ADVISED!!! Regards D. P. (Name removed to protect identity) Director MIS Department