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Netiquette: Email Etiquette for Copywriters and Leaders

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

How is your email etiquette? Manners count … even online.

More business communications are conducted electronically every day and every week. Even if you’re an old hand at using electronic mail, a review never hurts. You may even sharpen your netiquette skills. 

Take this quiz to check your email know-how.

Email Etiquette Quiz

Take this Email Etiquette Quiz for email #WritingTips with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter

1. You own all the email you write – even the emails you send from a work address.

False.  Laws of ownership vary from place to place.  But generally, whoever pays the Internet access bill owns the email downloaded and uploaded to the server.

2.  A subject line is not necessary.

False.  The subject line helps the reader know the email’s content.  If you have several different points to cover, send them in separate emails, each with its own subject line.

3.  You don’t need to use a salutation.

False.  “Good morning, Sue,” works fine.   So does “Joe, …”

4.  An email is not a private communication – even when you send it to just one person.

True.  You never know what will get forwarded to a third party (intentionally or not).  Email content is as vulnerable as anything written on a postcard. Click “send” accordingly.

5.  Keep it short and to the point.

True.  One of email’s benefits is convenience.  Stay on topic.

6.  You should reserve your email signature (with your name and contact information) for business communications only.

False.  Use it on every email.  It’s a courtesy that saves any reader the hassle of looking up your phone number or website address – plus it can generate leads.

7.  Only send attachments if they’re really necessary.

True.  Lots of us have been burned by viruses, and huge files can take some users a loo-ng time to download.  Another tip: always mention an attachment in your email so the recipient can let you know if it didn’t come through. 

8.  Check the sender name before you hit “reply.”

True.  You may have been the primary recipient, or you could have been sent a copy (“CC”) or blind copy (“BCC”).  And remember – “Reply All” means you’re replying to every recipient listed on the email.

9.  Use all caps or font manipulation carefully.

True.  CAPS INDICATE SHOUTING.  So can bold or colored text.  Let your words speak for themselves.

10.  Angry messages, called “flames,” are best responded to after you’ve cooled off – or not at all.

True.  Mom was right.  Think before you speak – or in this case, before you send.

11. If you don’t have time to give a complete answer to an email right away, it’s OK to wait until you can.

True and False.  No answer at all makes the sender to think you didn’t get the email. Let him know you got it, and that you’ll respond in detail as soon as you are able. 

12. Spelling doesn’t matter in email.

False.  And while you’re at it, use grammar check, too.


BONUS QUESTION!  Email use dates back to the early 1960s.

True.  Once time-sharing computers were able to run more than one program simultaneously, engineers wrote programs that allowed users to exchange text messages while sitting at different terminals. 

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