As my inbox fills each day with messages, I'm struck by the lack of standards in place for email users.

So I'm writing my own. Here are my 3 rules for email:

1. Don't react! Email is a quick medium, which makes it more like conversation than like traditionally written letters. This speed is convenient, but also means that we may be more likely to respond harshly to someone who upsets us. If it's a client, employer, or employee, a sharp response could potentially destroy our business. Even though email is a quick medium, respond with professional kindness. If something is said that upsets you, let them know that you'll get back to them later… then cool off!

2. Be concise. Long emails don't get read. It's a simple fact that people are willing to read long letters, long books, long sales pages, but not long email. Keep your emails short with bullet points and a very clear message.

3. Be professional. Keep your emails to clients, vendors, and employees completely professional. You likely already follow a strict “no spam” requirement, which is a good policy. But you should avoid forwarding those “cute” emails that promise “wonderful luck and blessings if this email gets forwarded 10 times in the next 10 minutes.” Those emails might be enjoyable for you to read and send to friends, but keep them out of your business relationships; send only positive, business-oriented material. And, what you do send should be proofread to make sure that it is free from spelling or grammatical errors.

Your emails are a form of marketing communication. Make sure they always positively promote your business.