At this time of year, it is natural to look forward to the new year and think about the things we can improve upon. I’ve been helping folks online for over 27 years now, and there are still some issues that onliners struggle with when using email properly.
Improving Your Email Etiquette…
Here are the things that I regularly see that folks can improve upon. By embracing these topics, you’ll not only improve your email communications but help to avoid misunderstanding too.
I also include links to more info on each topic for your convenience.
Proper Email Program Setup
Make sure you display your name correctly in the From: field. Formally capitalized. Not in all lower case; not in all caps. This will help make sure your emails look legitimate instead of being misidentified as spam.
Include Greetings and Sign-offs
Start every email with a friendly 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. By doing so, you leave the level of emphasis up to the other side (and they’ll usually over-emphasize), which can cause misunderstandings. Instead, choose your words carefully to reflect your intent and meaning.
If an email states “forward to all your friends,” don’t. Forwarding an email to a bunch of people is not personal and carries no special meaning at all.
When you have a message that genuinely 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. You expose their addresses to strangers when you do, which is a severe breach of privacy and trust. Instead, when emailing a group of people who do not know each other, always use the BCc: field.
Never send unannounced large attachments without asking first if the person on the other side would be interested in what the attachments contain. After that, ask when would be the best time to send them to keep their inbox clear.
Writing is a Skill
Email is writing. That’s why it is wise to work on your writing and communication skills. Doing so 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. Don’t be that guy or gal.
Check Your Folders
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. That choice 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. So here’s to a great 2022!