Email Etiquette, More Than Just Manners
We all understand the importance of good “people skills” when it comes to our interpersonal communication -it helps us get the results we need. our communication determines the opinion others have to us – knowledgeable or ignorant, pleasant or rude, professional or immature.
When it comes to email etiquette, it’s not as easy to control how others perceive us, and yet it’s even more important. Why? Because what you write and how you use email can affect whether your email gets delivered, read, or responded to – and what that response is!
15 Tips To Better Email Etiquette
- Think, Write and Think Again
Email is a static, one-way channel – unlike live communication, there’s no way to get immediate feedback (from facial expressions or voice responses) to know if we are being effective or even understood. So think twice before hitting the send key.
- Use A meaningful Subject Line
This is the first thing your reader sees. Use a subject that relates to the message you’re sending. Without a subject line your note will probably be seen as another piece of junk mail. Avoid generic words like “Hi” or “Check This Out”.
- The Beginning And The End
Always use a salutation, even if it’s short like “Hi”, or “Hello”, or “Dear”, Whatever works best for the intended recipient. Don’t forget the end of your message too! Always sign your messages with your name, and say “Thank You”, or “sincerely” or the like.
- Protect Your Recipient Identity.
If your email is being sent to just one person, use the “to:” field when your email is being sent to more than one person, use the “CC:” field. For email sent to multiple recipients when they don’t need to know who else you sent to, use the “BCC:” field.
- Give Memory A helping Hand
When replying to emails, include a copy of the prior emails you’ve traded with the person on the topic, don’t just send a new message. It’s not always possible to remember every single ‘conversation’ you have had with every single person.
- Use The Read Receipt Sparingly
In normal day-to-day activities you should not request a read receipt for every message you send. Not only is it annoying to the recipient, but don’t forget – just because they have received it doesn’t mean they have actually even read it.
- URGENT! The Boy Who Cried Wolf.
Do not send all your messages as URGENT, or HIGH PRIORITY. If your messages marked that way, then eventually the red exclamation point loses it’s effectiveness – except to reinforce how important YOU think you are
- Avoid Special Coding Or Formatting
Don’t use colored email back grounds, colored fonts, special fonts, images or other “pretty” type of formatting to your messages. Keep them clean – this makes it easier for the intended recipient to read them and reply. They will also load faster!
- Don’t SHOUT at Your Recipient
Typing in all caps is seen as yelling, or that you were just too lazy to use proper text formatting. It’s also hard on the eyes – it takes longer to read something written in all caps than it does to read something that is properly formatted.
- Proof, Spell-check And Proper Formatting.
Poor writing skills are direct reflection on you! Spell checking will prevent most misspelled words, but you should always proof your email in case you’ve written the incorrect capitalization, punctuation and formatting.
- Take The Time To Send A Reply
When someone emails you something that doesn’t need a direct response, follow up with them in a timely manner just to let them know you received it. It’s amazing how often people will ask for advice and not even reply with a short “Thank you”
- If They Didn’t Request It, Don’t Send It!
You cannot email someone about your product/service without their permission. Unless they request that you send them an email, or you have previously done business with them an email, period. (Can-Spam Act)
- Compress, Compress, Compress!
If you are sending an email with several large attachments, it is often better to send them in a few separate emails, so that you don’t send a document that is too large to even open. Or, you can try compressing your messages into a zipped file.
- Hoaxes As Helpful Hints.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Do not forward everything that gets sent to you. If you receive one from a friend, reply to them (in a very nice way) and explain to them why this isn’t true, or ask them to stop forwarding them to you.
- Virus Or Virus Advice
Many viruses are spread by email masquerading as warnings about – a virus! If you get a virus warning, which usually contains instructions for removing a virus… check google.com for that virus BEFORE doing anything. It’s likely a hoax.