At this time of year it is natural to look forward to the new year as well as think about the things we can improve upon. I’ve been helping folks online for 25 years now and there are still some issues that onliners struggle with when it comes to using email properly.
Improving Your Email Etiquette…
Here are the things I see on a regular basis when it comes to email that I know many can apply to better their email communications. I am also including links to more info on each topic for your convenience.
Proper Email Program Setup
Make sure you display your name properly in the From: field. Formally capitalized. Not in all lower case; not in all caps. This will help to make sure your emails look legitimate instead of being misidentified as spam.
Include Greetings and Sign-offs
Start every email with a nice greeting and sign off with a closing and your name. One sentence emails without these efforts can be perceived as demanding, terse or even rude.
Subject Field Creation
Make sure the Subject: field of every email is clear and concise about the topic of your communication. Don’t hesitate to change the Subject: field when the conversation changes direction.
Rarely Use Bolding or Colored Text
Refrain from using bold or red text to show emphasis in your email’s tone. By doing so you leave the level of emphasis up to the other side which can cause misunderstandings. Instead, choose your words carefully to reflect your intent and meaning.
If an email states “forward to all your friends” just don’t. Forwarding an email to a bunch of people really is not personal and carries no special meaning at all. When you have a message that truly pertains to any of your “real” friends, send a copy to each one individually with a personal note about why you are forwarding them that message. Now that’s thoughtful!
Do not list all your contacts in the To: or Cc: field. By doing so you expose their addresses to strangers and is a serious breach of privacy and trust. When emailing a group of people who do not know each other, always use the BCc: field.
Never send unannounced large attachments without first asking if the person on the other side would be interested in what the attachments contain. Then ask when would be the best time to send them so they can keep their inbox clear.
Writing is a Skill
Email is writing, so to continually work on your writing and communication skills makes sure that your emails are not misunderstood or disregarded. Lack of spell checking, grammar and proper sentence structure reflects a lack of education or concern about being taken seriously.
Check Your Folders
Always check your junk or trash folder to see if any emails landed there by mistake before sending off follow-ups or emails insinuating a lack of response. Adding expected email addresses to your whitelist/approved senders should become a habit.
Gratitude is Contagious
When you make a point of thanking those who help you via email, the relationship is strengthened. Whether it be a website, blog, discussion board or friendly Netizen who answers your questions a “Thank You!” will never be unappreciated. Always let others know their efforts on your behalf are truly valued.
Hindering or Helping?
It is your choice how to use technology and whether it will hinder or help your communications. How about keeping these suggested improvements in mind when it comes to your day-to-day email activities?
You can bet those you communicate with will be glad you did. Here’s to a great 2020!