Email Etiquette Guidelines

In an effort to promote efficient and effective communication during this COVID-19 period, where most of us are working from home, the following guidelines are suggested for using email at the University.

*Use a professional email address: - Corporate email addresses are more appropriate as compared to personal addresses. Corporate emails are those whose naming falls within the email address space. Remember that sending email from your University account is similar to sending a letter on a University of Nairobi letterhead, so do not write anything that might discredit or bring embarrassment to the University.

*Use a precise but descriptive subject: - The first thing that one sees when they receive your email is the subject. It determines what priority the receiver gives it. Make sure they are able to get the scope of your email in summary.

*Use professional salutation: - These include ‘Hi’, ‘Hello’, ‘Good morning’ and ‘Dear’. ‘Hey’ is not appropriate. When communicating to a group, words such as ‘team’ or ‘all’ can be used. Use one’s official name when addressing emails; e.g. ‘Michael’ should not be shortened to ‘Mike’.

*Avoid use of extreme emotion: - Do not use language that projects anger. Keep your communication polite and straight to the point. This does not mean you sound cold or curt. Use professional language.

*Careful use of punctuation and caps: - Writing a message in all caps gives the impression of shouting. Only use caps in well-known abbreviations. Punctuation marks such as exclamation marks are usually used to convey extreme emotion such as anger or excitement depending on the text. Use them sparingly. Avoid using multiple successive question marks or exclamation marks.

*Do not forget your signature: - Sign off with your name, department and position especially if the recipient does not know you. Phrases such as ‘(Best/Kind/Warm) Regards’, ‘Sincerely’, ‘With thanks’ among others can be used.

*Always proofread your emails: - Read through your email to ensure you have no spelling mistakes or grammar errors. Confirm that your message comes through clearly without any ambiguity.

*Double-check email addresses: - This is to avoid sending confidential emails to the wrong person/group or leaving someone out. Send emails only to people who will find the information relevant.

*Reply to all emails: - Notify the sender that you have received their email and whether or not you understand their message. In case an email was mistakenly delivered to you, make it known to the sender so that they can make the necessary corrections. However, do NOT use ‘Reply all’ unless the message is intended for everyone. Check your email regularly; ignoring an email message is discourteous and confusing to the sender. Conversely, never assume that simply because you have sent a message, it has been read.

*Keep private information confidential: - Sensitive or private information can be discussed in person or via phone.

*Vacation Responder/ Forwarding: - * Make arrangements for your email to be forwarded to someone to handle when you are on leave, or install an automatic reply system advising that you will not be able to respond.

*Mailing Lists: - Do not reproduce a message in full when responding to it, especially if you are posting to a mailing list. Instead, be selective in the parts that you include in your response.

*Authenticity: - Do not extract and use text from someone else's message without acknowledgment. Do not make changes to someone else's message and pass it on without making it clear where you have made the changes.

*Be 'Legal, Decent, Honest and Truthful': - Do not pretend to be someone else when sending email. Do not send frivolous, abusive or defamatory messages. Apart from being discourteous or offensive, you may be breaking the law. Be tolerant of others' mistakes. Some people are new to this medium, and may not be good typists; they may even accidentally delete your message and ask you to resend it. Remember that the various civil and criminal laws relating to written communication apply equally to email messages, including the laws relating to defamation, copyright, obscenity, fraudulent misrepresentation, and wrongful discrimination.

email_etiquette_guide.txt · Last modified: 2020/05/13 07:32 by Janet
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