Email Etiquette—Part 1
When I teach seminars and workshops on
writing, people often ask questions about mail etiquette. Here are seven
tips. I will present more in the next two columns.
Be concise and to the point. If not, you waste the time of others and run the risk they
won’t take time to read your message. When possible, give the answer in the subject line, and then
provide additional information in the text.
Use proper spelling, grammar and punctuation.
You insult readers by sending messages with errors. Besides, your e-mail may be forwarded to others.
Run spelling and grammar checks on everything you write.
Answer e-mails swiftly, even if you must do it briefly. A
quick response shows people they are important to you. Furthermore
it’s usually more efficient to keep up with your inbox rather than
Answer all questions; preempt further questions. Save time
and keep the reader focused by anticipating further questions and taking
the initiative to answer them before they are asked. This practice saves
time needed to read and write further e-mails.
Use templates for frequently used responses. Using an existing message where you “plug in” specific
information saves you time. Make
certain not to leave leftover reminders such as names or dates that
indicate you are working from a template.
Generally include the message thread or related messages
in a response. This practice allows readers to easily see what generated
the response and allows them to easily refer to earlier messages, if
Don’t overuse “Reply to All,” “Urgent” or
“Important.” If you do, you will be like the little boy who
hollered, “wolf, wolf” too many times.
When the wolf finally came, no one believed him.
To be continued
October 2005 - Email Etiquette—Part 1