One of my favorite TV shows is NCIS. My attraction is more to the characters than the plot. I am particularly fascinated with Leroy Jethro Gibbs and his 50+ rules. In case you do not know, Rule No. 1 is “Never let suspects stay together.” That has nothing to do with email etiquette, but everything to do with Ramsey’s Rules, particularly Ramsey’s Rules of Etiquette.
Ramsey’s Rule No. 1 of Email Etiquette: “Never put in an email anything that you could not bear to hear or see on the national news the next day.”
It seems that this error is not one that is limited to the rank and file office worker. It is an issue for people in high places. If you’ve been paying attention to the national news lately, you know what I am talking about.
No matter your position or your pay grade, your email is not exempt from worldwide exposure.
So let me remind you once again to never put anything in an email that you are not willing to have viewed across the globe. You never know when your email might be hacked or when some co-worker might be looking for a bit of revenge. Whatever the case, you will ultimately pay the price.
What is the solution? If you have something private, controversial or confidential to share, stay away from the internet. Pick up the phone or arrange a private meeting.
Bonus rule: Never send an email when you are angry, upset or inebriated. Once it leaves your inbox, it will live until eternity.
More information on email etiquette is available in my best-selling book, Manners That Sell. For a quick read, I have published an online article titled “The Top Twelve Email Mistakes That Can Sabotage Your Career.”
Lydia Ramsey is a Savannah-based business etiquette and modern manners expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. Since 1996, thousands have attended her sessions — from keynote presentations and seminars to conference breakout sessions. She also provides individual coaching services. Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant. Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, call her at 912-598-981, or go to www.lydiaramsey.com.