Corporate Communications: Email and Instant Message Use

Email and Instant Message Use Likely to Be Monitored

“Before you dash off a quick email or instant message to a friend or family member during a protracted work meeting, remember that your message may be monitored. Over 75% report that they record and review employee communications” – M. S. Ross

Communication email computer corporate communicationsSkills Tips: Email

Professional communications skills can build and support a positive work environment and be smart business communications strategy. Before you dash off a quick email or instant message to a friend or family member during a protracted work meeting, remember that your message may be monitored. Over three-quarters (76%) of US firms report that they record and review their employees communications on the job, with over half retaining and reviewing

The consequences of misuse can be severe. The American Management Association reports that one in four companies have terminated employees for email misuse.

This might be the perfect day to brush up on what your employer says about proper use of email and IM in the “Company Handbook.” Companies large and small are implementing electronic technology policies. The primary drivers for communication monitoring are legal and regulatory. In a court of law, email, instant messages, and other employee content has become evidence. They are the equivalent of business DNA.

Top Ten Professional Email Communications Tips


1. The Mom Test
Only put information in emails that you would not be embarrassed about if it was shown to your boss, your mom, or read at the next company meeting.

2. Mind Your Memo
Consider a professional email to be the same as a memo.

3. Subject Line
Make sure the subject line is filled in and summarizes the content of the email.

4. Font Size Matters
Avoid writing in all capital letters - it portrays shouting.

5. Professional
Avoid smiley faces and abbreviations such as lol (laugh out loud).

6. Proof Twice
Always reread your email for grammatical and spelling mistakes. Choose the “always spell check option” for your messages, but remember spell check misses things.

7. Avoid
Use the “reply all” option sparingly.

8. Jargon Weakens
Do a “jargon check.” Avoid using company jargon and abbreviations when your message is going to someone outside your company.

9. Signature Area
Signature information matters. Have your signature information state your name, position, organization, and phone number. For some types of emails, you may also want to include your mailing address.

10. Personal Branding
Remember your business email is your personal advertisement each time you click ‘send.”

About Instant Messages
Some companies encourage the use of IM on the job when it increases employee work productivity; others view it as a security risk. Check your company’s policy regarding the use of IM for business and for personal communications. As a courtesy to co-workers, when using IM, remember to mute.


Margaret Ross, a communications management , social media marketing, education and workplace relationship expert, is the visionary CEO of Visible Strategies Communications.

Ross is the author of Making Business Work and the Good Finder books series for children and families. She is an award winning author and editor of Visible Strategies Social Media Communications blog.

Margaret is the executive producer the Telly Award winning television program, Success Class, author of hundreds of business articles and a frequently featured guest of America’s top radio shows addressing communication skills, marketing, cyberbullies.