Sunday, May 31, 2009

Email Etiquette - Why Is It Important ?

Of all Internet activities, email is the most popular one. A good number of all Internet users use Email. Most of those who use the Internet at work use it to access business Email.

Here are the reasons why I am writing about email etiquette. The first one is a lot of people use email, especially for business communications. As you are reading it, there's a good chance you use email to communicate with others, including your friends, boss, colleagues, clients, or prospective employers.

And the second important reason is the Career Planning Guide. I also receive emails. Some of them are well written and some are’t. Some mail messages go on and on and on, until finally the question is asked. Sometimes the length is necessary -- other times the writer could be more concise.

Some messages get right to the point, a little too quickly. The person writing the email wastes no time asking for what he or she needs without bothering to be polite. A few of us use what I can only describe as some sort of shorthand or abbreviated language, i.e. "Hw r u. Thanx fr ur hlp." This way of writing emails (etc.) may be appropriate while you are communicating with your buddies through instant messaging, but not for writing to someone you've never met. Besides, being a little more specific might help me find the information faster.

Sometimes there are evident errors, such as misspellings and very poor grammar. While this annoys me (at least) sometimes, I can only imagine what a prospective employer would think when receiving a poorly written message. Because your correspondence/communication says a lot about you, you should be aware of some basic email etiquette known as netiquette.

Plz Don't Abbrvt. ur Msg

I still remember a little old email of my college-going cousin for wishing me a Happy New Year in an abbreviated form like this:

“Hi bhai, hw r u. wshng u n ur fmly a gr8 n a vry hpy nw yr “.

The Decoded Message is “How are you? Wishing you and your family a great and a very happy new year”. She is using all possible abbreviations -- UR instead of your, 2 instead of to or too, plz instead of please, gr8 instead of great, and thanx instead of thanks. You surely can use these but only if it’s a personal email. Write your business emails in a little more formal way. You surely can use abbreviations like Mr. and Mrs., FYI (for your information), inc., and etc.

Mind Your Tone of Writing

I am not talking about the mobile ringtone, rather the tone of our writing. The tone of writing is a difficult thing to explain. Yes, tone of writing is very hard to manage while you are speaking. At the time of writing an email, I try to read my email message quite a lot of times, rather than just type and send it. I try to make it sure that I come across as respectful, friendly, and approachable. Sometimes just rearranging your paragraphs will help.

If you’re exchanging / writing emails with a person, you can start your email with these nice words “I hope you are well”. People often use emoticons (emoticons are little faces made up by arranging parentheses, colons, and semi-colons) to convey a certain emotion or feeling. Use good ones here. If you exchange emails with someone frequently and you have an informal relationship, then emoticons are good way to send your feelings. But in case, it’s an email for your future employer, kindly stick to words only.

When we talk to someone, we are just talking and not shouting with the person. So keep away from writing your message using all upper case letters. It looks like you’re shouting. Don’t use all lower case letters either. As people say it conveys a message, like you’re mumbling.

Be Brief …

It’s not an essay writing competition or a history exam. Try to be brief. Get to your point as quickly as you can. But it does not mean that you can leave out necessary details related to the email message. In case some detailed information is to be included in the message so that the email recipient is able to reply to your message, please go ahead and make it a part of the message. You may even want to apologize for being so wordy at the beginning of the message.

Mind Your Manners

“Mind Your Manners” - these words carry real deep meaning. Normally we never pay heed too these words, but if we forget to use them, we‘ll surely come across as disrespectful and ungrateful. “Please”, “Sorry” and “Thank You” are words full of power. If we use these words, we will be thanking ourselves for good results coming out of it.

Because there are many persons, who are quite touchy about how they are addressed. Whenever you are in doubt, always you Ms. or Mr. (if appropriate). In case you are replying to an email where the sender of the original email has mentioned his/her First Name only, in that very case you could safely guess and use that person’s first name only while addressing his email back.

What's In a Name?

You must take care while choosing an email address for yourself. What does it say about you? Are you a loverboy81 @your_isp.com? But do you want a future employer to think so? Try to get a formal email address for you. Perhaps your first initials and the last name would be good enough. In case you do not want to change/leave this email id of yours, try to get a new email id for your professional emails. In case your ISP (Internet Service Provider) provides only one email address. No problem - You can get a free email account. Never use your official email address for searching new opportunities, rather use your personal email id for it.

Spelling and Grammar also Counts

Who cares while writing an email message? Try using your spell checker, it’s for that purpose only. But don't rely exclusively on the spell checker. If you're using the wrong spelling for a particular use of a word, i.e. two vs. to vs. too, the spell checker won't pick it up. Don't try to guess the spelling of a word. Look it up.

Grammar also plays an important role. Never use offensive language under any situation.


Sending MB’s of pictures, Flash greeting cards, movie clips or other large content may be quite annoying. Consider the fact that a lot of people may have just wanted to quickly check their e-mail and ended up waiting minutes for attachments to download from their mail server.

Attachments often carry viruses. The sender of the message may not even know they're sending you a virus. As a matter of fact, they may not even know they're sending you an email. There are many viruses that cause your email program to send everyone in your address book an infected file.

Try to contact the recipient before sending an attachment first to ask if it's okay to send an attachment. Try to know whether the recipient expects a message with an attachment. If you're sending your resume for a job, the best way is cutting and pasting it right into the email message itself. Use plain text only. I know that you will have to change that beautifully formatted resume into something a little less fancy.

Keep forwarded e-mails clean

We normally receive emails containing jokes, pictures and other stuff from our friends etc. and we also want to share the same further with our coworkers, family or friends etc. However, sharing these e-mail via forwarding them will grow the size of email beyond normal size, with many > characters and broken lines etc. Try to clear your forwarded e-mail before you pass it on.

Compose a Signature

Email is an authentic letter you are sending to someone personal/professional. Having a signature looks professional and saves the bother of typing the same information in every email. Remember people may wish to contact you through methods other than email. So make sure you have a phone number and address.

Everyone wants to know whose email they are reading, as kk2002@something.com is not helpful to identify you. In case your e-mail software supports then use an auto signature added to every message you are sending. Make sure to include your complete name with email address. In case of professional email id ,include your title and/or company name and maybe a phone number with area code.

Acknowledge Important Emails

In case, the email received is important (includes some message or attached documents etc) from someone, make sure to at least acknowledge their receipt. Otherwise they may be uncertain that you got them. It doesn’t have to be long; it can be quite short.

First Impression is the Last Impression (try to make it Good)

The world of emails is too good. It’s the easiest and the fastest way to communicate. You might be introducing yourself to someone you never met before. Spend good time for a well-written message. Once you hit the send button you won't have another chance.

1 comment:


Good information. Thanks.