Monday, February 27, 2006

Politeness still matters

E-mail etiquette for all

Emails are a relatively new form of communication – emailing emboldens writers – the medium does not discourage occasional impoliteness.  Here are some things you should and shouldn’t do:-

  • Check where your message is going BEFORE you send it.
Look at the “To” and “cc” lines, and be careful which button you hit to reply to a message – reply  NOT  reply all.

  • Keep it short and simple
Everybody who has to use emails to communicate is almost by definition very busy – go straight to your point – don’t waffle unnecessarily.

  • Learn how to get the best out of your email program
Al email programs have features that help you to manage your mail more efficiently and more effectively – keep only the most recent messages in your Inbox – a forgotten reply often offends or worse.

  • Use blind copies when sending mass messages
When sending to a lot of people, use the bcc feature to save everybody getting everybody else’s email address – save people having to scroll down to the message.

  • Use a signature
Append short  personal contact details as a courtesy.

  • Don’t send things that can’t be read or opened
Nothing makes people more frustrated than not being to open stuff that they have been sent.  Check what you are sending – leave out non-verbal symbols.

  • Don’t format
Don’t send specially formatted messages – they might not get opened – or they might find their way into the Junk Mail Box

  • Don’t overquote
When replying to a message, don’t resend the whole thing – only quote the relevant bits, starting quotes with >.

  • Don’t send junk
Don’t send stuff just because it amuses you – people have to prioritize message openings.

  • Make your web address easy to use
If you put in a web address, include the http:// bit to make it recognizable and clickable.

  • Take care with the subject line
Thr subject line should tell the recipient what the message is about – no subject lines get low priority – too general has the same effect – don’t use the word ‘urgent’ unless it is urgent.
Robert L. Fielding


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