E-mail Etiquette: 5 Ways To Write the Wrongs

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to increase the effectiveness of your emails.

      “You’ve Got Mail!”  I still smile when I think of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in that entertaining and engaging  movie “You’ve  Got Mail.

                Too bad the friendly and welcomed e-mail  all but dissipates in the real world when the romantic comedy ends. In the real world Too much e-mail is written with a shovel more than a keyboard. Too much e-mail is shoveled like manure and spread around in a field of confusion until it smells. That’s why the most effective leaders I known strive to practice a more polished e-mail etiquette designed to turn that smell of exasperation into a well of inspiration.

         Here are 5 ways to make your e-mails more relevant –more audience centered — and more results oriented, sparking a more timely and targeted response.


Begin your message with instructions of what you expect the receiver to do with this message. Such as For Your Approval by specific date  or  Pre-Read for January 7 Meeting or  For Your Information – FYI


Begin and end your message with a call to the action requested like this: “Action Requested: Need Approval by specific date” etc.


Reply to every e-mail with a simple “THX” or a Thanks or anything that says “I got your message.”


  Acknowledge e-mails with some response within 24 hours.


Send your e-mails addressed to one primary person and copy the others who need to know. Don’t include more than one person in the “To” field unless you also specify and segregate  their individual accountabilities.

    Next to e-mails, my second greatest pet peeve is the voice mail from hell. You know the voice mail where the speaker is talking about as fast as world’s fastest talker in those FedEx television commercials.  Here are three ways leaders leave a voice mail that is more clear, concise and results-oriented

1. BOOKENDS. Give your phone number in the beginning and again at the end of your message. “This is (your name) at (your phone number)……then give your key message and end with (your name) and (your phone number.)

2. PAUSE FOR THE CAUSE. Give your phone number slowly. Chuck numbers in a sequence of 3 numbers (pause) then 3 numbers (pause) then two numbers (pause) etc. “Call me at 616 (pause) 957 (pause) 76 (pause) 53.

3. SHORT AND TO THE POINT: Messages should be NO more than 20- seconds in length, including your book ended phone number.

4. AVAILABILITY: If you are calling to set up a meeting, provide two or three dates of your availability.

 Today’s ImproveMINT
Focus on your intended audience’s interests in emails to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

You might like these previous Leadership Mints on audience-centered Personal Communications:
Teamwork- Saying I’m Sorry the Write Way
Confessions of a Listener: Father  Have Sinned
Listening is Literally a Life and Death Issue
Public Speaking in a Bathrobe & Beyond

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1 thought on “E-mail Etiquette: 5 Ways To Write the Wrongs

  1. Pingback: Personal Communications: Catching the 5/15 Train of Thought « LEADERSHIP MINTS

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