by Tom Isler | August 01, 2005

illustrationIt’s all too easy to dash off a sloppy or offensive e-mail. Judith Kallos, author of Because Netiquette Matters! (, offers some advice on e-communication.

Assume formality. Never put anything in an e-mail that you wouldn’t write on company letterhead. Default to the highest level of courtesy (“Dear Dr. Doolittle”) until instructed otherwise.

Consider size. Gigantic attachments can do more than cause headaches for server administrators; they can mean losing business when in-boxes overflow and e-mails bounce. Learn how to compress large files down to a polite size.

Don’t rush it. Proofreading and spell-checking are absolute musts. Additionally, edit out unnecessary parts of the conversation that might be lingering in a chain of replies.

Sign off gracefully. Niceties count. Always end e-mails with “Thank you” or “Sincerely...”  And keep signature tags down to five lines or fewer, lest your e-mails smack of egocentrism.