Management advice: The use and misuse of emails

Over time our use of email can often lead to bad habits. Andy Millington provides a refresher on getting the best from electronic communications

We all use email. It has become an indispensable part of life but applying a few simple rules will make it a much more useful tool. In fact it is hard to imagine life without email despite it being less than 30 years old.

It is this relative newness that creates some of the problems; we are all getting used to communicating this way and online etiquette, manners and protocol are still developing. I’m sure many of you can remember being taught how to write a letter in school, how to address the envelope and the difference between a personal and business letter. I am sure that very few of us have been taught how to write an email despite there being as many different types of email as there are letters.

In the same way as we see the envelope before we open the letter that allow us to make judgements about the letter, such as brown envelopes for bills, we see the email address, display name and the subject of the email in our inbox before we decide if we will open it, save it for later or delete it.

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