Effective email


“Email, it is because you hurt me, annoy me and defy me that I love you even more when, every once in a while, you love me back.”

- Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

Be Considerate

Everyone’s inbox is flooded by email. Consider your recipient and the nature of your message. Would it be better to make a phone call or have a face to face conversation?

  • Write clearly and address only one topic per email message.
  • Craft your subject line strategically so that it gives your reader important information from the start.
  • Be brief.
  • Use Reply-all sparingly.

Be Careful

All the emails you write using your University of Montana email accounts are public information.

Would you be comfortable with your message being published on the front page of the newspaper?

Consider using this writing process when writing emails:

  • Draft important messages in Word.
  • Revise, edit, wait, send.
  • Fill in the "To" field last.

Be Professional

Make sure your message is easy to read and understand.

  • Avoid using “unique” backgrounds.
  • Keep your signature short and simple.
  • If you’re annoyed or upset, wait before you write someone back. However, remember that silence is also a message.
  • Use correct grammar and punctuation.
  • Include a greeting and a closing that includes your name.

Some of this content has been adapted from Caroline Simms' presentation, "Email: Making it work for you".

Dilbert cartoon