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Email Lesson 9

Email Etiquette

Email Do's
Because email is fast, easy, cheap, and convenient, it's rapidly becoming a common form of communication in the workplace. Here are a few basic guidelines to follow when sending e-mail.

Do include a descriptive subject line
A subject line should be a short phrase, since many email clients shorten longer subject lines, and somewhat describe the contents of the message. If you like, you can include a prefix to help your recipient understand the message.
urgent = please read now
req = request
FYI = for your information

Do keep it short
It's time-consuming to read through a lot of text looking for specific information. Make your point and make it short. Think of e-mail as a brief telephone conversation. People you work with may receive hundreds of e-mail messages a day.

Email Don'ts
Don't ignore spelling and grammar mistakes
It's true that email communication is far more casual than a formal report, but it's crucial to know when to pay attention to detail such as spelling and grammar. To help you, many email clients feature Spell check.

  

Don't bother with excessive formatting
Keep it simple. Formatting doesn't matter a whole lot when you are composing a short e-mail message. Logically organize your message with line breaks when appropriate. Use HTML (Rich Text) sparingly.

Don't use excessive punctuation
Let your words express your feelings; don't follow up a short statement with 50 exclamation points.

Don't use emoticons
Emoticons, or smilies, are keyboard characters used to convey an emotion. Use emoticons sparingly. Some consider them too "cutesy" and unprofessional.
Examples:
:-) = happy
:-( = sad
;-) = wink
:-o = shocked, surprised

Mind Your Manners
When you communicate face-to-face, you pay attention to what is said and how it is said. Non-verbal clues such as facial expression, body language, dress, and hearing the emotion in someone's voice all help you understand of the intention of the statement being made.
Electronic communication is very different. If you're not careful, email can complicate communication. Before you send that next email message, consider the following:

Tone
When you are e-mailing friends, a casual tone is fine. When e-mailing at work, treat each message individually. If you typically address someone using Mr. or Ms., then do so in your e-mail message. Generally, be courteous. Treat others as you would like to be treated. And remember, sarcasm is often misunderstood in electronic communication.

Think Twice
Keep it simple. Formatting doesn't matter a whole lot when you are composing a short e-mail message. Logically organize your message with line breaks when appropriate. Use HTML (Rich Text) sparingly.

Avoid Engaging in a Flame War
Let your words express your feelings; don't follow up a short statement with 50 exclamation points.

Avoid "Shouting"
AVOID USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. IT'S CALLED "SHOUTING," AND IS CONSIDERED RUDE.

Don't Spam
While you may enjoy passing e-cards and jokes along to your friends and family, don't make a habit of sending this kind of mail to your coworkers.

And Finally…

Privacy
E-mail is not a private form of communication. Some companies monitor employee e-mail. Keep this in mind when you e-mail at work. Everything is on record.

 Immediacy
Although e-mail is much faster than "snail mail," don't assume that your e-mail message will be answered 30 seconds after you send it.

Printing
E-mail (electronic mail) cuts down on the amount of paper you have to deal with on a daily basis. Print the important stuff (directions to a company meeting across town, flight information).