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Email Etiquette

Email-Etiquette.jpgMajority of businesses and people today use email. It has become the major form of communication between people and teams who are apart. But I often notice that some people kind of follow their own rules and etiquette when it comes to sending emails. So why do we need to follow some kind of email etiquette? Well, there are many answers to this question. Perhaps, I can highlight some of my own issues, thereby giving you an idea of what I am talking about.
The first problem I find, are people who send emails without a subject line. This makes prioritization much more difficult. Is this an email about a cat playing the piano, is this a critical business related email informing me of a major deal? There is no way of knowing until I open the message. Also following up on outstanding issues become difficult. But that is not where it ends. We at Extra Dimensions IT archive our emails for 5 years. Often, it is necessary for me to go back to emails for information. Now, imagine having to search through the emails for the previous years, and not being able to find it because of a lack of a subject lines.

Then we find people who go to the other extreme. They write their whole email in the subject line, with no body. This again creates its own set of problems. Again, reading the mails and sorting them, becomes an issue. When the subject line contains more than a certain number of characters, some email readers will truncate them in order to fit the email into the preview viewer. Again, this causes various issues when you need to go back and search for older emails.
Another thing that always jumps up at me, is grammatical or spelling mistakes. While I admit that I am sometimes guilty of this, I generally try to make sure I ready my emails properly before sending. Usually, I manage to catch all mistakes this way before I send off my emails. I have had instances where the spelling and grammar mistakes were so severe, I could not understand, or even guess what the sender was trying to convey. Something like this also says a lot about the sender’s attention to detail and I guess, to a degree, their competence. If your auditor keeps sending you emails in which their calculations are incorrect, or your editor keeps making spelling or grammar mistakes, you might start wondering whether they are able to perform their professional responsibilities.


So what can we do about it? Well, there are a few etiquette guidelines we can all follow to make sure that our messages are communicated effectively, while projecting a professional and competent image of ourselves or the organizations we represent. Below is a list of some of the points I find rather important.

1 - Make sure you include a relevant subject in your email. This lets the reader know exactly what to expect from the contents of the email message.

2 - Write the content of your intended message in the body of the email.

3 - Keep your emails concise, clear and to the point. Writing down key points only, or random thoughts will most definitely lead to confusion.

4 - Read your email before sending it. You are more likely to pick up on errors and omissions. Often, you might even come up with a better way to convey your intended message.

5 - Do not write your subject or message body in capital letters. Use capital letters as intended. Remember people and place names are always written by capitalizing the starting letter.

6 - Try to refrain from using instant chat abbreviations in your emails. Not everyone understands what “LOL” means. Rather use the proper wording thereby eliminating the potential for confusion. For me, there is a clear difference between “great” and “gr8”.

7 - Make sure that you are sending the email to the intended recipients. I often receive emails intended for different Willie’s. This can be somewhat embarrassing, especially if you are communicating confidential information.

8 - Be careful when forwarding or using “Reply to all” feature. I remember an instance where a recipient replied to a business email, to remind the sender of their moment of passion the previous day. This might not have been so bad, had it not been that she accidentally hit “reply to all”, thereby sending her thoughts to the whole company. The fact that they were both married, and NOT to each other, made it even more scandalous.

9 - Make sure you did in fact attach that promised file to the email message. I always cringe when I have to reply asking the sender to attach the originally promised file.

These are a few of the issues I regularly notice in email correspondence. You can also find a list of 101 Email Etiquette Tips as listed on www.netmanners.com. Should you have any thoughts or comments regarding this post, please feel free to contact Extra Dimensions IT.

Willie Strydom - 14:38:19 @ Personal View | 2 comments