Sunday, August 5, 2007

E-mail Etiquette

How important is your e-mail to you? To me, well, it’s more than just for convenience. I check my e-mail account on a daily basis. Almost everyone has an e-mail account. And by that, I’m sure that most people will agree to me that sometimes, some e-mails are just difficult to read or understand, no? I receive a lot of badly composed e-mails everyday, and so I thought, I should find out about e-mail etiquette and talk about it.

I looked around, searched on the internet, dug through my mountain of books, and found something which I think is rather good.

The importance of e-mail etiquette (taken from the last page of January-March 2007 issue, SriPentas magazine. I got it from my visit to err, SriPentas).

By Dawn M. Jeremiah

“E-mail etiquette refers to a set of do’s and don’ts that are recommended by business and communication experts in response to the growing concern that people are not using their e-mail effectively or appropriately.”
(Flynn & Flynn, 2006)

Why do we need e-mail etiquette?
Using proper e-mail language conveys a professional image. E-mails that get to the point are much more effective. It can also protect your company from lawsuits from badly composed e-mails.

Meaningful subjects
Try to use a subject that is meaningful to the recipient as well as yourself. For instance, when requesting for information. It is better to mention the subject matter and what it is pertaining to, e.g. ‘Thursday Nite Live: List of Invitees’ rather than just ‘TNL’.

Proper spelling, grammar and punctuation
Improper spelling, grammar and punctuation give a bad impression of your company. It is also important for conveying the message properly. If your program has spell checking, why not use it?

Proper structure and layout
Reading from a screen is more difficult than reading from paper. Use short paragraphs and blank lines between paragraphs. When making points, number them or mark each point separately.

Once you send that first e-mail, you will probably get a response. The wrong way to reply to that response is by starting a new e-mail message. This breaks the link (called a ‘thread’), making it difficult for readers to follow the sequence of messages, especially after several exchanges. This is an even larger problem if several people are replying to the same message. The correct thing to do is to reply to the original message (use “Reply to All” if there are many recipients).

Try to avoid abbreviated names or numbers. Do include your e-mail address. It is best to include your title and company name in the signature.

Swift answers
Each customer e-mail should be replied to within at least 24 hours. If you’re busy, just send an e-mail back saying that you have received it and you will get back to them.

Personal e-mails
Personal e-mails sent from the office are regarded as official company communications regardless of content and could possibly expose you and your company to unnecessary risk. Scary, huh?

Chain letters
Do not forward chain letters. Just delete them when you get them.

Set meetings in advance
Don’t assume people will read an e-mail the minute they get it. Remember, e-mail is not designed for immediacy (that’s why you have a telephone), it’s designed for convenience.

You may not be working in a company, but heck, e-mail etiquette is as important as any other kinds of etiquette, no? So please, stop sending me chain letters already for God’s sake! And well, the ‘thread’ thing is important, too. I’ve been communicating via e-mail for quite some time now, and I realized how some people like to delete the previously written message so the e-mail looked clean. Now, that’s a bad idea. Why? Because I can’t always remember everything from the older messages, can I?


kannasai4896 said...

hi,just drop by, show my support. thanks for sharing.i agree that email are very important to us, currently i read at least 50 mails every day..........sigh.

Iwan Sanchez said...

hello aaron bro,
yeah lah, sometimes its good to have some education on email etiquette..

and till today, i cant fathom y ppl STILL send those chain emails.


conan_cat said...

hmm yeah email etiquette really important de lor! but i'm one of those who will delete the previous msgs to make the email look clean haha... but i will only delete until the last reply de lor, cuz i for one don't like to see soooo many >>>>>>>>>>> in one msg lol... the most i'll leave it to >>> :P

now using gmail, no need to wry bout that at all already :P

Aaron Chua said...

Thanks for supporting!
50 e-mails? That's a lot man. lol~

Iwan Sanchez
Yeah man! Cannot finish one! Keep coming back!

Gmail? I don't have a Gmail account. lol~ I always lose track of older messages. =.="

aL said...

Dawn Jeremiah was once Penang's INTI college prom queen~!


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