With each passing day our email communications are becoming even more part of our life and how we get our message out. Email helps us to keep connected and make new connections.
Whether it be personal communications with family and friends, or business email communications with other professionals. Your ability to use technology properly and communicate with clarity and courtesy will go a long way to building and sustaining positive relationships.
Email Etiquette is simply a set of guidelines that help you to:
Use Technology properly
You don’t want to look as though you are fish out of water. And, you want to make sure that your communications are taken seriously.
Try not to fall into the “email is informal” trap and not take the creation of your messages seriously. By not making basic simple efforts you risk that you will be perceived as uneducated, lazy and inconsiderate.
Email is Not All About You
Well, you are sending the email with your message — so that is about you. But on the other side is another human being that relies on you to make your message clear.
Taking the approach that as the sender you dictate how the conversation will go by making minimal efforts will not contribute to a productive discussion. Actually it may thwart you from being able to do so.
By not integrating basic communication skills you show no concern for the person on the other side. It is in your best interest to think about how your email activities and efforts (or lack thereof) will impact those you communicate with.
Communicate with Clarity and Courtesy
You want to be viewed as a pleasure to communicate with, right? The last thing you want is those you communicate with cringing when they see your name in their inbox. And, believe me — they do cringe.
- Do your emails appear as if you didn’t make it out of grade-school?
- Are your emails demanding and terse because you omit basic courtesies?
- Have you experienced misunderstandings that could have been avoided with just a little added email etiquette?
Believe it or not there are those that when you mention this topic to them, all you get is more of the same. Which says more about them than email etiquette which some feel is old-fashioned or not necessary.
Why are some so resistant to acquiring new knowledge and skills? Especially with so much information at our finger tips. Is it a lack of desire to learn or a stubbornness to just do what they want regardless?
On a regular basis I have folks email me for assistance who don’t bother to type in full sentences or spell check. No greetings, no “thank you in advance” for your help, no concern as to whether their email is even coherent.
They blurt out their questions in all lower case expecting me to take the time to offer my rebuttal. I always do in a kind manner — and then crickets. Could it be their questions were an effort to see if I agreed with them that these efforts are not necessary?
No More Responses
Here’s a perfect example of what I am talking about. I had a site visitor email me just this week stating she would no longer respond to coworkers who emailed her without any clarity or common courtesy.
While I understand her frustration, on the job you cannot ignore coworkers. Instead you have the opportunity to use their lack of skills as a teachable moment and lead by example.
Show them how to email properly by virtue of how you respond in your replies knowing you are doing the right thing. Then have a discussion with your supervisors about integrating email etiquette guidelines and policies so everyone is on the same page.
The fact there are folks who feel courtesy is not important in their emails is a window into what kind of person they are. Nice people take the time, make the time, to be courteous.
For me however, the situation is different being Net [email protected] is a courtesy service. No one pays me to take the time to answer each site inquiry personally. Which I do in 99% of the cases.
Yep, there is that 1% that I just shake my head and click delete.
Be Kind, Quick and Clear
Whether you are emailing family or friends or just a website — be on your best behavior. If you send an email that looks like it is written by someone who doesn’t care, who looks lazy and uneducated, you risk your contacts not taking the time to respond.
I respond not because I “have to” but because that’s what I am here to do. Share information on this important topic so that you can offer the best impression possible.
Whichever side of this coin you are on, let’s all step up our game to make sure our communications enhance rather than impede our ability to connect.