Email and Phone Etiquette

“Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot!”

Clarence Thomas

Email etiquette tips
Britannica Encyclopaedia defines etiquette as the“system of rules and conventions that regulate social and professional behaviour”.

Email Etiquette Tips:

Email etiquette is nothing but the observation of such system of rules pertaining to the emails on the internet. The following are the simple tips to make your emails to look simplified as well as dignified:


1. Subject: The subject of your mail should refer to the body of the mail in a short form. Ex: Resume for the post of Vice President, Marketing or Party at Kumar’s place @ 4 PM etc.

2. Proper addressing of the recipient like Dear Sir/Madam, Hi, Greetings etc should be made depending on the personal or professional relationship with the recipient.

3. The first paragraph should spell out the reason for your mail: for example, “with reference to your letter” “Reference our telecom”, “We would like to introduce ourselves” and “Hi! How are you?” etc.

4. Coming to the matter itself, it should be spelled out in a precise tone, without aggressive tenor, way too many excuses, threatening remarks and the work.

5. Grammatical errors: It is mandatory that you should check your mails for spelling errors and punctuation marks before sending.

6. Keep it precise: Too long a mail, people would get bored, too short, your mail may not convey what you had wanted to, too many enclosures, people would get hassled about and you write too much about yourself, no body bothers to read, except your mom, of course!

7. No Spamming: Do not spam other people’s mail ids. You don’t read the spam mails, do you? Nor do the others.

8. There is no need to add the time and the date in your mails, as by default, the mail will show these details to the receiver.

9. End: At the end of your mail, write your name, your work designation, your complete office address and your phone number, if the mail is official. It would be better if you could fill these details in the signature column in the settings, making the appearance of the details automated.

10. Your personal mail will look nice if you could add a nice quote after your signature at the end of the mail.

11. CapsLock:Typing your mail in ALL CAPS is a criminal offense, unfortunately not recognized by the law, but poses a great strain to the eyes of the reader. That should never be done.

12. Emails should better be used for basic non emotional communication and not for sending the condolence messages, marriage proposals and such important real life details.

13. With today’s technology, it’s easy to copy & paste anything on the mail, thinking that your recipient will enjoy the info. It may not be true. You should control your urge of sharing everything with everyone.

Phone Etiquette Tips:

What you say in between “Hi!” and “Bye” is the most important feature of the phone etiquette

1. Do not bark, repeat, do not bark on the phone if you are upset, irritated or hurt due to some reason.

That is the worst offense as far as the phone etiquette is concerned.Chances are that the person on the other line could turn out to be an important person to you.

2. Do not ever give missed calls on someone’s mobile. If you want to say something to someone, it would be better if YOU call them!

3. Do not repeatedly say the same thing again and again on the phone. Recitation classes are long over in the grown ups world!

4. Try to keep the conversation short and simple. There could be others trying to talk to the person on the other line.

5. Always keep a pen and notepad handy if you may have to note down something on the phone. Keeping the receiver hanging, while you search for the writing instruments may irritate the person on the other end.


1. What should I do if the recipient of my mail does not follow the email etiquette?
You can still be polite and show fine manners hoping that the recipient shall take the hint from you.


2. Sometimes I shall have to shout on the phone to be heard when I am commuting in the crowded areas or I am in the market place.
Sure the person on the other end shall understand if he is told of the reason. We all go to the market and we all commute to work.

Smita’s Advice

Writing is not enough: you should write in the proper manner. Speaking is not enough: you should speak in a well-mannered way.

Like Thomas Sowell says,

“Politeness and consideration for others is like investing pennies and getting dollars back”.

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Good Conversation


A conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue. That’s why there are so few good 

conversations: due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet.
Truman Capote

good conversationIn the series “The Undercover Boss USA”, (BBC Entertainment), if you would

have noticed, the CEO (the undercover boss)
of the companies makes it a point to ask about the families of their staff. You may also observe that the moment you ask about someone’s family, one’s face lights up like a 100 watt bulb and there is a lingering smile at the corners of one’s mouth.

People love to talk about themselves. Listen to them. A good conservationist should listen patiently to the others and then talk. A good conversation starts from there. When you listen to someone, then that someone will readily listen to you too


1. Conversation is like using grammar: Metaphorically speaking, your conversation should be grammatically correct, just like your writing is. When someone interrupts while you are talking, you should put a comma on your talk and should listen to him. When you complete your sentence, insert a period and listen to the other person’s response and so on.

2. Listening within a limit: Conversation should not mean listening to someone indefinitely: Some people just need a chance to open up and you will never see an end to their talks. If the conversation is not a two way street, you may as well square off the meet nicely and move on.

3. Compliment people: One of my friends always starts her conversation with, “You look nice”, this lipstick looks great on you”, “you have a lovely bag” etc. She always finds something to compliment about the other person, before starting the conversation. She has the knack of getting into a person’s heart and the other person is won over, hands down by her technique. Anything she says after that is always being listened to carefully. Compliment people!

4. Conversation with strangers(How to start a conversation): If you are in an art gallery, an exhibition, the museum or any such public places, you may always start talking about the art, the exhibition and museum pieces and the works. If you are in a party, the host can be of the subject of interest apart from the nice food, good atmosphere, great coffee, a mutual friend etc. However, a woman should always be careful on her conversation with the strangers. She should know when to stop and move on out of that place.

5. Body Language: In most of the office meets, people start fidgeting after a couple of hours, may be even before so. While a lengthy presentation is going on, some people yarn, some people engage themselves in an animated conversation with their colleagues, some people will be looking everywhere except on the podium etc. This makes the presenter to feel uncomfortable. Your body language depicts your interests, your focus, your involvement, your carelessness and your disrespect to the person who is trying to talk to you. Pay attention to the person on the other side of your conversation, so that he shall pay attention to you when you would be talking.

6. Conversation startersWeather of course is the major conversation starter. For a woman, a conversation starter could depend upon the familiarity of the person to whom she is talking. If he is quite known to her, she can starts and ends with any subject like work place, family, friends, TV serials, movies, sports etc. Conversation with less familiar people should be kept at that; less familiar, till the time she is sure of the person’s behaviour, character, the reliability factor and the reference of a friend or of the family.


Q Some people are uninteresting and are also so dumb that they don’t ever understand when I give one excuse after the other, to cut short their conversation and move on. I can’t be rude on their face. How to go about this?

Conversation starters

To share a secret with you, a lot of us find ourselves in such a situation. People are the same everywhere. When you see such person from a distance, try calling someone on your mobile and start talking; say a few pleasantries while crossing your would be tormentor and continue to walk; you should show a serious expression on your face. This is one of the tricks that work for me every time.


Q Sometimes I meet people who answer in Monosyllabic language.Its difficult to converse with them after a point. how do you keep a conversation going?

The best way to deal with this problem is to ask open-ended questions. Like, if a women whom you are conversing with is fond of cooking, then you can ask her recipe of her favourite dish or request her to give you some quick tips on cooking. These common interest questions help a person to be at ease and to speak more.

Smita’s Advice

Conversation is not about your talking with others, it is mainly about your listening to the others.

Conversation should be like juggling; up goes the balls and plates, up and over, in and out, good solid objects that glitter in the footlights and fall with a bang if you miss them.”
Evelyn Waugh.

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