November 4, 2009

Surf’s Up – Internet News

chris…. dedicated to providing information about the Internet.

Email Etiquette Refresher Part 1 of 2

This will be the first of two articles reminding everyone of the importance of etiquette when sending emails.

By Chris Cournoyer

It is important that whether for business or personal use that you follow the basics of email etiquette. By following some simple rules, you will be a joy to communicate with while being perceived as a caring and intelligent human being.

Sending Emails

1. Make sure your e-mail includes a courteous greeting and closing. This helps to make your e-mail not seem demanding or terse.
2. Address your contact with the appropriate level of formality and make sure you spelled their his or her correctly.
3. Spell check – emails with typos are not taken seriously.
4. Read your email out loud to ensure the tone is that which you desire. Try to avoid relying on formatting for emphasis; rather choose the words that reflect your meaning instead. A few additions of the words “please” and “thank you” go a long way!
5. Be sure you are including all relevant details or information necessary to understand your request or point of view. Generalities can many times causing confusion and unnecessary back and forths.
6. Are you using proper sentence structure? First word capitalized with appropriate punctuation? Multiple instances of !!! or ??? are perceived as rude or condescending.
7. If your email is emotionally charged, walk away from the computer and wait to reply. Review the Sender’s email again so that you are sure you are not reading anything into the email that simply isn’t there.
8. Refrain from using the Reply to All feature to give your opinion to those who may not be interested. In most cases replying to the Sender alone is your best course of action.
9. Make one last check that the address or addresses in the To: field are those you wish to send your reply to.
10. Be sure your name is reflected properly in the From: field. Jane A. Doe (not jane, jane doe or JANE DOE).
11. Type in complete sentences. To type random phrases or cryptic thoughts does not lend to clear communication.
12. Never assume the intent of an email. If you are not sure — ask so as to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings.
13. Just because someone doesn’t ask for a response doesn’t mean you ignore them. Always acknowledge emails from those you know in a timely manner.
14. Be sure the Subject: field accurately reflects the content of your email. Don’t leave the Subject line blank – anything to help the receiver understand the meaning of the message will help with communication.
15. Don’t hesitate to say thank you, how are you, or appreciate your help!
16. Keep emails brief and to the point. Save long conversations for the old fashioned telephone.
17. Always end your emails with “Thank you,” “Sincerely,” “Take it easy,” “Best regards” – something!

Formatting Emails

1. Do not type in all caps. IT LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING!
2. If you bold your type, know you are bolding your statement and it will be taken that way by the other side.
3. Do not use patterned backgrounds. Makes your email harder to read.
4. Stay away from fancy fonts — only the standard fonts are on all computers so fancy, uncommon fonts could be misinterpreted by some computers and harder to read.
5. Use emoticons sparingly to ensure your tone and intent are clear.
6. Typing your emails in all small case gives the perception of lack of education or laziness.
7. Refrain from using multiple font colors in one email. It makes your email harder to view and can add to your intent being misinterpreted.
8. Use formatting sparingly. Instead try to rely on choosing the most accurate words possible to reflect your tone and avoid misunderstandings in the process.

A Few Notes on Email Attachments

1. Never send large attachments without notice! Always ask what would be the best time to send them first.
2. When sending large attachments, always “zip” or compress them before sending.
3. Learn how to resample or resize graphics or photos to about 600 pixels in width before attaching them to an email. Keeping file sizes under 50KB will greatly reduce download time.
4. Never open an attachment from someone you don’t know. It could contain a virus.

And a Note on Sending or Forwarding an Email to Multiple People:

Never expose your friend’s or contact’s email address to strangers by listing them all in the To: field. Use the BCC: field. That way, the email won’t be cluttered with the huge list of email addresses before the message and inboxes will be safe from viruses that can be spread by finding email addresses imbedded in your messages!

And finally… Type unto others as you would have them type unto you!