Are you infamous among your colleagues for your appalling e-mail manners?
In the age of internet, use of e-mail for the communications and information exchange is very common and as of today, e-mail (sending, reading and replying) taken our significant portion of the day. According to the research, workers today spend more than 25 percent of their workweek in some form of engagement with the e-mail messages. Today it is important that we work fast and efficiently but working fast is no excuse for bad e-mail manners. So, below is an extensive list of dos and donts which cover various scenarios of sending, receiving and writing e-mails.
Sending E-mail etiquette
Always include courteous greeting and closing when sending the e-mail. This makes your e-mail less demanding. Address the person of contract with appropriate formality and double check the spelling of their name. Nothing annoys more than a wrong spelling of name. Double check your e-mail for the typos. E-mails with spelling mistakes and typos are not taken seriously. Read your e-mail out loud to make sure that it has the tone which you desire and rather than relying on the 'emphasis formatting' for important points choose the words which convey the meaning. Also, ending the e-mail with words like 'thank you' and 'please' go long way! Don’t forget to include all the details which explain your point of view or request you are making in the e-mail. Writing a mail in general can cause many confusions and unnecessary setbacks. Use simple and proper sentence structure like using the right punctuation. Using multiple instances of '!!!' or '???' in the e-mail make the tone rude. If you are writing the email when your emotions are at peak, shut down your computer and send reply after sometime. Calm down and read the sender's e-mail again to make sure that you are not reading something that is not there in the e-mail. If you are sending the attachments in the e-mail ask the recipient first and don’t send big files in the mail as they can fill the inbox causing other e-mails to bounce. Don’t just use the reply all button to send e-mail to all who are not proper recipient of the e-mail or who are not interested in your opinion. Sending the e-mail to sender alone is your best course of action in most cases. Be sure to write the name properly in the name such as Jane A. Doe and not jane, Jane or JANE DOE. Make one last check before sending the name that all the names in e-mail are written properly. Type complete sentences. Never assume the intent of the e-mail. If it is not clear then ask the recipient about it to avoid any misunderstandings. Always make it a habit to acknowledge the emails which are sent to you. Don’t ignore any e-mail. Make sure that the Subject field of the e-mail reflects the right content of your e-mail. Don’t hesitate in saying 'thank your', 'how are you' and 'appreciate your help'. Keep the e-mail to the point. For long conversations phones are still there. End your e-mails with “Thank you,” “Sincerely,” “Take it easy,” “Best regards” – something along the similar lines.
E-mail is formatting etiquette
Typing your complete e-mails in caps reflects shouting. Avoid this at all cost be-cause it is rude. Any statement you make bold in the e-mail will be treated in the same way. Emoticons are not forbidden but use them as sparingly as you can. Emoticons make the tone of the e-mail childlike. Use only standard fonts for typing the emails and stay away from fancy fonts. As typing the e-mail in all caps should not be done in a similar way typing the e-mail in all small case reflects laziness and lack of professionalism and education. Refrain from using multiple font colors in a single email as it makes it harder to read and interpret the email. Choose the words in your e-mail carefully to make sure that the intent of the email is clear.
E-mail attachment etiquette
Before sending the large attachments compress them or zip them. Refrain from sending large attachments before confirming the same from the recipient. Learn to resize and re-sample the graphics before attaching them in the attachments as this will help in reducing the download time. Refrain from opening the attachment sent from someone you don’t know. Make sure that your antivirus program is up to date as sometimes attachment contains programs like spywares and ad-wares. Spread your several attachments over several e-mails in order to prevent the pipeline from clogging. Make sure that other side also has the same software as yours otherwise they may not be able to open your attachment and whenever possible, use PDF file in attachment.
Fields [To, From, CC, BCc, RR, Subject] etiquette
Only use CC when it is important for other to know about the content of the e-mail. Overuse can cause e-mails to be ignored. Using the RR (Return Receipt) on every single e-mail is viewed as intrusive and annoying. In the To: field use the addresses of the person from which you would like to receive response from In the CC: field use addresses of the people who you are sending the e-mail for FYI purpose. Don’t forget to include the subject of the e-mail. Skipping the subject may cause your email to be marked as spam. Make sure that your own name is displayed properly in the From: field. People who don’t need to see your reply remove their name from To:, CC; and BCC: field. Don’t include your friend's or other contacts e-mail addresses to the strangers by listing their addresses in the To: field, instead use the BCC: field. Think about your motives before adding the addresses in the To:, CC:, BCc. To send unnecessary copies to the other using the BCC is like talking someone behind' back which is rude and unless this is your true intention refrain from using the field unnecessarily.
E-mail forwarding etiquette
Don’t forward the emails which say to do so. Such e-mails are hoax and may not be appreciated by the recipients. When forwarding the e-mail, if you cannot type a personalized message to the person you are forwarding to then don’t bother sending that e-mail. Make sure that you are not forwarding the e-mail without editing all the >>>,e-mail addresses, headers, commentary etc. from other forwarders. If you have to forward the mail to multiple persons then put your own e-mail ad-dress in the TO: field and addresses of the recipients in the BCC field to prevent them from being published to others. Take special care of this point as this is considered as a serious privacy issue. Be very careful when commenting on a political issue or something along the similar lines as your Point of view may not be very well received by the recipient.
Choosing Email; Privacy and Copyright
Choose your address wisely as, to some extent it determines how you are perceived. Make sure that you understand the intent of the email clearly before sending the reply. If not then make a call to do so. Posting or forwarding the private e-mails is a copyright infringement and rude. If you need to do so then seek the permission from the author of the private e-mail. Many e-mails are forwarded to others so keeping this in mind, be careful if you are going to type an emotional e-mail. If there is a misunderstanding through the e-mail then don’t hesitate to call the person to clear and set things right. Know how you type. The efforts you put in or not in your typing determines what is important to you and if you are an educated person or not. If you forward an e-mail which turns out to be hoax, be mature and send a follow up apology email to the people who you forwarded the e-mail. If by any chance your friend puts your e-mail address in the To: field alongside emails of the strangers then ask him not to do so in future without your permission. If you are filling out a contact form on website then do it carefully and sincerely so that your request is taken seriously.
Business email etiquette
Think of your business email as a business letterhead and you will never go wrong. If you cannot reply back to the email promptly then at least send a e-mail con-forming the receipt the email and when the sender can expect a reply from your side. Emailing the site owners about your services and products through the site's con-tact form is spam. If you want to do so then read this blog post about cold e-mailing. Reply to the emails promptly by cutting out the unnecessary information from the mail. Formality has its place and reflects the respect for the other person. So, when you are contacting a client through e-mail assume highest level of formality. Avoid getting too informal and too soon in early days of e-mail communication. Never send anyone an e-mail from which they need to unsubscribe especially, when they never subscribed for it in the first place. When sending the attachments related to business be professional and never send them outside the business hours.
Chat, texting and IM etiquette
When participating in the chat, IM or texting keep the communication simple as cryptic communications often leads to misunderstanding. Use IM (Instant messaging) only for the informal communications. When IMing, always ask the person if he is available and if it is a good time to chat. When instant messaging communicate in brief manner Always consider if calling is a better option than Instant Messaging because it generally is if topic is sensitive. If you cannot handle then avoid engaging in multiple instant messaging sessions with the people. Learn to use the status such as available, busy and if applicable, put on a custom message. When using instant messaging, always use your real name instead of alias. Check who you are communicating with before using emoticons and smileys in your instant messaging.
Social media, blogs and forums etiquette
When tweeting, posting a post on the Facebook, remember that you are in global arena If discussions get out of control on social media avoid stooping to name-calling or other forms of insults. You are wise and better than this. Keep commercialism to a single link at the end of the comment. If you are new to group then, lurk in the group for a while to get the feel about the community before you post anything. Stay on topic and discuss what is relevant to the thread. Do not share your personal information on online with others. Don’t fall for the trolls made online against you. Keep your comments relevant to the thread and remove any unnecessary part which does not share to the thread.
Before you get upset because someone did reply to your email, check your trash and junk folder. If e-mail is emotionally charged then wait at least a day before replying to see if you still feel the same about the mail. If necessary, modify the subject to reflect more appropriate direction of conversation. Review each email before you click on the send button. Use new email for new topic. Never hit a reply in an old email to start conversation about new topic. Quickly add the new email addresses of web sites and new contacts in the contact book to avoid sending them in junk folder. Before you fill out the contact us form, make sure to check the site to make sure that the information you are looking for is not already present. Before deleting all the e-mails of the trash folder, take a good look at all the emails to make sure that no good e-mail landed there by mistake. If an email asks you forward it to all your contacts then have mercy on your contacts and delete the mail immediately. Don’t mass e-mail to the people who didn't ask to be on your e-mail list. Finally… type an e-mail to others as if you writing it to yourself.
This extensive list will help you in writing more polished e-mails. While it may take a while to get a hold on these points, in the long run they will reap the benefits which you expect from an e-mail communication.
About the Author
I love to help businesses in expanding their outreach to their readers and users by producing high quality content for the technical and property management space. During these three years as a professional freelance content/blog writer I also had the opportunity to immerse myself in various other domains as well and education is one of them.
Whatever your requirements are, I am sure that my experience as a professional content writer and blog writer will be able to accomplish what your job requires and will help you and your business in increasing their influence and authority among your readers and users in your area of expertise.