How’s your Email etiquette? Are your words accurately and respectfully written?
Since Emails are a dominant form of communication in our personal and professional lives, making them effective is the key. Many of us prefer to or have chosen to email folks rather than verbally communicate with them. Besides, emailing is handy. You don’t have to worry about catching folks or them returning calls. You don’t have to leave home or get dressed to communicate. Plus, you can send them anytime, anywhere, and from your phone which is always with you.
Because of the conveniences and simplicities, why bother with the physical interaction? You may not be in an office when you send an email, but if it’s for business, it should reflect a professional tone.
It is for these reasons and more, that we should make sure that our emails convey the appropriate message.
1. Subject Lines – Make them succinct and to the point. If the subject should change in your email thread, change the subject line to reflect same.
2. Professional Email Address – If it is not a corporate email, does it contain your name/your company’s name or a reference whereby the reader will know that it’s you?
3. Reply All – Think before you press that button. Do you want everyone to read your message or just the sender? Are you sending the email to the right person? Double check your stored recipient’s name to assure your accuracy before you send. Slippery fingers can present a slippery mess!
4. Salutations – Be professional and please use a greeting of some sort.
5. Exclamation Points – Multiple exclamation points can be offensive. Some authorities equate multiple exclamation points to shouting.
6. Blind copy/Forward – Wisely use as appropriate.
7. Replies – Try to reasonably respond to emails even if it is a brief answer. ( i.e received, thank you). Don’t leave the sender wondering if you received/read their message.
8. Proofread – Read it before you push the send button.
9. Can you really hide behind the words? – This is a double edged sword. You can say in writing what you do not have the courage to say to a person’s face. However, words don’t lie whether they are oral or written. Unlike verbal communication, we have little or no wiggle room for interpretation when it is in print. Emails can hold a liar’s feet to the fire because the sender can’t say that it wasn’t him/her who sent the message when the email came directly from their email address. The black and white letters become permanent etches.
Emails are here to stay. They are permanent records that are undeniably evidentiary. Your emails can be funny or serious. They can be light or academic. They convey a consortium of messages. Regardless, be careful, discreet, accurate; be a person whose emails you can defend! Be wise with your choice of words!
By the way, the conveniences of emails can add hours to your workday because many of us transmit emails from home that we didn’t have time to send during work hours.
Photo credit: www.math.uh.edu