As head of Harvard Effective Altruistm I’ve recently started to send a lot more email than I previously did. So I’ve picked up some interesting pieces of email etiquette that I didn’t previously know (i.e., beyond the obvious ones):
Include important search keywords in your email. Anyone who uses gmail, or most other modern mail clients, has quite powerful search tools, but they still can’t read your mind. So if you’re sending someone a cookie recipe, make sure it includes the words “cookie” and “recipe” somewhere in the subject or body. If you’re emailing about a meeting, make sure you include the participants’ names (if practical), subject matter, time and date.
This is subtle enough that people will probably completely miss it (though if you want to be obvious about it you can include a postscript—“search keywords: etiquette, convenience”). But it actually does make a difference, at least to me; I’ve spent nontrivial time searching for emails a couple times this week, which is why I realized that including keywords was important.
Include full event dates and times. Another useful gmail feature is that it scans through the email and will add things that look like dates to your calendar. But if you write “Tuesday” instead of “Tuesday, March 31, 2020” then gmail will pick the wrong Tuesday and you have to fiddle around to change the event date. It makes it more convenient if you write out the full date at least once in the email (you don’t have to do it every time, since gmail looks at all the links).
Move introductions to bcc. If you introduce two people and then they have a long correspondence while both replying all, it gets annoying (at least if you don’t use something like gmail that can mute conversations). To save your introducer the trouble, you can bcc them on your first reply (and make a note of it so the other person doesn’t think you forgot about the indroducer and re-add them).
I’m sure there are other ones that I’m missing. Suggestions?