1) Never put anything in an email that you wouldn't want posted on the lunch room bulletin board.
2) Treat email like a written memo; it's a business record.
3) Never use offensive or vulgar language in an email.
4) Beware what you write; your email can be forwarded to others (accidentally or otherwise).
5) Be careful that the tone of the words is what you want. Consider being over-polite to avoid misinterpretation. (and "let the ink dry" before sending if you are angry when you composed it.)
6) Business is not the place to forward jokes; others may be offended or tired of the interruptions.
Top Ten E-Messes
You inadvertently send porn to your boss:
You receive a picture that you just know your friend Daniel will appreciate. While no one is around, you quickly forward it to him using the function to recognise the name. Daniel doesn't reply, and when you quiz him about it later that evening, you realise he didn't receive it.
Frantically checking your sent items the following day, you realise that the explicit image was sent to Dani, your boss.
You did not secure the salary information document:
HR sends to you the salary breakdowns for 2002, and while reviewing them you realise changes need to be made. You re-save the document, and send it back to HR. Unfortunately, you have saved the document in the company network file name: Salaries.
You swear about your client in an email to a colleague at work:
Your client has been irritating you with their unrealistic demands and constant complaining. You vent your frustration in an email to your colleague, where 'no holds are barred' about your views. But in anger and because you have your client on your mind you send it to him instead. You lose the account the following week.
You forward a joke:
You receive a joke from your old friend, who can always be relied on to provide the best jokes they always go down well. You don't have time to read it through, but send it onto your colleagues so they don't miss out. The racist comment at the end of the email is not appreciated, and sent immediately to HR with a complaint.
Ruining your company's reputation:
You send a MPEG that only a few select friends would appreciate you're very careful about that. Your friends forward it onto a select group, too, and the chain goes on and on. In the end, over 300 people have received an email with your company name, address and URL with a shocking attachment. Not the sort of campaign your marketing department had in mind.