Modern Etiquette -The pluses and perils of instant communication

Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:38am EDT
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By Jo Bryant

LONDON (Reuters) - Email and texting enable us to communicate instantly, but the ease and spontaneity of communication can present us with a multitude of digital dilemmas.


More formal than a text message and less formal than a letter, emails are quick and convenient. They should, however, be approached with the same care and attention that a more traditional form of written communication would receive.

Always include a proper salutation at the beginning of an email (ie ‘Dear Mr Debrett'). Formal emails mimic letters, but for most emails, sign-offs such as ‘Best wishes' or ‘Thanks' are quite acceptable.

Beware of using capital letters too often; use italics or underlining for emphasis. Don't litter emails with exclamation marks, and avoid abbreviations or emoticons for business correspondence.

Be cautious of sarcasm and subtle humor, unless you know that the reader will ‘get it'. If in doubt, err towards the polite and formal. Similarly, think carefully before hitting ‘send' if your email is written in haste or when emotions are running high.

Use ‘reply all' discriminately; don't spam friends and colleagues. Don't overload your emails with system-slowing extras.

Texting   Continued...