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Home Collegewide Public Information Office Email Communication Guidelines

Be Clear

Help effectively communicate your message by getting to your point briefly and directly.

  • Place key information at the top of the email.
  • Highlight key words in bold type and/or color.
  • Use descriptive subheads.
  • Use an informal, conversational tone and writing style; use contractions.
  • Avoid using both all capitals and all lowercase.
  • Title your emails with specific, descriptive subject lines.

Be Concise

Use a reader-friendly format, to include:

  • Number multiple steps
  • Short sentences (preferably 8-18 words)
  • Clear, commonly understood language
  • Sentences that are crisp, clear, and to the point
  • Short paragraphs to communicate a single idea, or bulleted lists for multiple points/ideas

Be Courteous

Send “TO” to the person/s that are expected to take action.

Send a “CC” (courtesy copy) to those who need to be informed of your request.

Generally, it’s best to address one topic per email to help in easily filing and retrieving them later. If you must cover more than one topic, use the subject line to indicate the email topics. For example, “Three campus construction project updates.”

Before forwarding an email, always consider the confidentiality of the contents. This is especially true when forwarding a one-on-one email communication to multiple colleagues or the entire college. When in doubt, ask the person who wrote the email for permission to forward the message.

Be Careful

Emails are the legal property of Cosumnes River College and the Los Rios District and are public documents. They are subject to court subpoena in legal proceedings. Remember, email is not confined to a private communication and may become widely shared or made public, so use great care and tact, and review your written communication twice (or more) before expressing yourself in a way you might later regret.

A Word on Signatures

Your signature line communicates your identity and location within the college (job title, contact information), but it also communicates the college’s identity. You may add the college logo, address, website and/or your specific area or department name as it falls within our branding guidelines. Please see Branded Templates for a downloadable signature template.

If you choose not to use a branded template for your email signature, keep it simple. Use single-spaced lines, left justified, and at minimum include your full name, title, the college name, your phone number and email. Other than black, use only approved college colors for text.

Mary Jane Doe
Administrative Assistant
Cosumnes River College
(916) 691-7777

ADA Compliance

If you insert a file directly into the body of an email, it may prevent readability for users with visual impairments. It is preferred that you type the information into the body of the email, and attach the document (flier, photo, image) to the email. However, you can do both to ensure you get the look you want and make it accessible to the visually impaired.