Good and Bad Email Etiquette
In the 21th century, the age of digital communication, we should know how to act when communicating through emails and what should we avoid doing. This article will give you quick review of the whole system called: “Email Etiquette”, or in the informal name: “Do and Don’ts When Writing and Responding to Emails”.
1. Always stay focused on your point. You mustn’t forget that reading emails (that aren’t printed) is harder than reading a printed letter.
2. Answer all of the questions from the previous mail, and answers the “questions in potential”. Make sure that you text is clear, covering all of the questions and can’t lead to misunderstanding. If you won’t keep that rule, you will waste yours and your recipient’s time.
3. Keep the message’s thread. In case that the client doesn’t remember, or doesn’t have access to the previous emails.
4. The “High Priority” option mustn’t be abused. Do you know the story about the boy who cried wolf? Don’t become that boy, especially not in front of your customers.
5. The structure and layout of your email is very important. As mentioned in the first bullet, reading electronically is harder, so a well-structured email will help your client to read your email more easily. Keeping the paragraphs short and an empty line after the end of the paragraph is a good example of the wanted layout.
6. In a formal mail, abbreviations and emoticons should be left out by default. Abbreviations such as BTW (which stands for by the way) may not be known to the recipient, that act will make it harder to understand the letter.
7. Consider the fact that not everyone has the same computer that you have. Don’t overuse formatting, it is possible that the recipient cannot view HTML (and rich text) emails. Most of the mail clients (including Gmail and Microsoft Outlook™) support HTML emails.
8. Email is not the appropriate way to discuss about confidential matters. Even if your recipient has left his computer in the office opened with the mail client on the screen for one moment, someone can print this mail and post it.
9. Do not write whole words in capital letters. ISN’T IT VERY ANNOYING? It seems like you are shouting, and it makes reading harder.
10. Use an effective subject message. Writing efficient subject line is important because of two reasons: If it seems like spam, it will go to the spam folder automatically. The second reason is that the recipient will treat this message as the summary of the whole email, if it will not seems important, he will probably leave it to later.
11. Your language gender should be natural. Avoid using “he/she”. For example, instead of “the user can write the letter using his email client”, write “the user can write the letter using an email client”.
12. Active voice is better than the passive voice. Instead of “Payment can be done by PayPal”, you can write “You can pay us using PayPal”. It sounds more personal.
13. Before sending the mail, take a few minutes to reread it. Correct spelling mistakes, typing mistakes and make sure that the message is very clear and covers all of the topics that you wanted to cover.
14. Attach only the necessary files. The recipient will actually open each one of the files. Keep only the files that must be attached.
15. Don’t reply to spam or forward chain letters. It will only prove that your email is active and will generate even more spam.
Of course that there are more suggestions, but I wanted to cover the main 15 rules. Good luck!
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