The Good Email Etiquette Guide
Email. It’s great isn’t it? All those spammy messages to process, all the time spent on trying to get your inbox to that mythical empty status. Yeah, email is great… Because it is such an easy and quick medium, people can also get very sloppy with it. Much like showing manners when eating a meal, there is a certain etiquette a person should adopt when sending emails. If we work together to improve our email manners we can all benefit from the time we save. Dream on!
- Don’t waste time with email forwards
99% of forwards and chain emails are not funny, ok! Seeing as they have usually done the rounds of AOL before you receive them, you end up having to scroll through the list of hundred people who sent and viewed it before you. It’s two minutes of my time I will never get back. To all my friends who send me them, I immediately press the delete key. Sorry!
- Don’t email if you don’t have to
There are enough emails flying around the internet without you adding to to the number. Before sending a message ask whether it’s really necessary or not. If all you are going to put is “yes”, “me too” or “thanks” think about whether the effort is worth it. It’s just another email to delete after all.
- Have a sensible email address
It might be cute when you are thirteen to have some wacky address that “cleverly” captures your music interests and your quirky personality, but try sharing it with everyone else and it can be a little embarrassing. I admit I am guilty of this one. Thankfully I don’t have to tell people my address that often. “Sorry, James. Can you spell that again please…”
- Get your email subjects right
Here is something to dwell on: the most important part of an email is the subject header. When you have a full inbox, you often use the subject to determine the importance or otherwise of the email as to whether to process it or not. I don’t want to waste time checking an email just to find out what it’s about because the author didn’t put enough detail in the subject. Where possible include details and what action is required from the recipient. For instance, “please review department proposal”.
- Keep to the point
I don’t want to spend time reading an entire essay from my inbox. So keep your message as concise and to the point as possible, without coming off as rude. Email is a fast medium so you should be able to read and process an email quickly as well.
- Keep your address book slim and trim
Some email apps have a nasty habit of storing the address of everyone you email. Worse still some people choose to save every address regardless. The end result is pesky forwards sent from people who you contacted once many months ago, or out of office emails from people whose absence from their cubicle you could not care less about.
- Spelling, grammar, yawn…
This really should be a given but I received an email this morning that was ALL IN CAPITALS so unfortunately it still needs mentioning. Check your spelling, check your grammar, don’t use l33t or txt spk, don’t fill the message with smilies. You want to actually look intelligent right?