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10 tips for Email Etiquette

1. Consider if you really need to send an email

Sometimes a phone call or quick meeting might be more appropriate.

2. Understand the difference between “To” and “CC"

You should only CC people who need to be copied in for information.  Copying in recipient’s line managers should be out of courtesy not coercion.

3. Keep messages brief and to the point

Make your most important point first.  Longer messages are less likely to be read or responded to.

4. Be considerate with your reply

Reply in a timely manner – if you are unable to fully respond to the email, write a holding email to acknowledge a reply.  Overuse of ‘reply all’ can also clutter an inbox.

5. Consider your audience

Be careful of tone – sarcasm does not translate well.  Do not criticise others, or reply in anger – emails are permanent.

6. Don’t overuse CAPITAL LETTERS

They can be interpreted as SHOUTING!

7. Remember your email is not private

You may think you have deleted it but it can still be retrieved – be careful what you write! 

8. Don’t email anything containing libellous, defamatory or obscene remarks

They could be interpreted as representing St Mary’s views. You could also be liable for innocently forwarding something, even if you did not write it.

9. Make use of an email signature

Adding an email signature that includes your contact details can prevent receiving additional emails requesting these.

10. Re-read the email before you send it

If in doubt get somebody else’s opinion before you send it.

For more information about using your university email, please see our self-help pages.