Why is Email EtiquEttE important?• We all interact with the printed word as though it has a personality and that personality makes positive and negative impressions upon us.• Without immediate feedback your document can easily be misinterpreted by your reader, so it is crucial that you follow the basic rules of etiquette to construct an appropriate tone.
thE ElEmEnts oF Email EtiquEttE• General format• Writing long messages• Attachments• The curse of surprises• Using a professional tone
GEnEral Format: thE Basics• Write a clear subject line (ex. • Include a closing with your name ENGL 3100 MWF 8:30 ) or 9:30) – (ex. skiguy01@yahoo does not Proposal Question,). tell me who you are).• Write a salutation for each email • Better yet, use your Wildcat (ex. Dr. Thomas:). email address.• Try to keep the email brief (one • Use caps when appropriate. screen length). • Avoid text-message-type (ex. R U• Check for punctuation, spelling, 4getting s/thing?). and grammatical errors. • Format your email for plain text• Use a font that has a professional rather than HTML. or neutral look.
General Format: CharaCter SpaCinG• Try to keep your line length at 65 characters or less.• If your message is likely to be forwarded, keep it to 60 characters or less.• Set your email preferences to automatically wrap outgoing plain text messages.
General Format: liStS and BulletSWhen you are writing directions For example,or want to emphasize important 1) Place the paper in drawer A.points, number your directions or 2) Click the green “start” button.bullet your main points. Another example, I have a couple of questions: • How can we improve customer satisfaction? • Will the proposal empower employees?
General Format: tone • Use smiles , winks ;), and other graphical symbols• Write in a positive tone only when appropriate. “When you complete • Use contractions to add a grading this assignment.” friendly tone. instead of “If you ever (don’t, won’t, can’t). finish grading … ”
attaChmentS• When you are sending an attachment tell your recipient what the name of the file is, what program it is saved in, and the version of the program.• Ex. The attached file is in MSWord (.doc or .docx) under the name “LabFile.docx” If you use an open source word processor send files as RTF or PDF.
When Your meSSaGe iS lonG• Warn the readers that the message is long.• Create a summary or overview of the message.• If you require a specific response from the reader then be sure to request that response in the first paragraph of your email (perhaps using a list).• Create headings for each major section (as appropriate).
Avoid SurpriSeS or LASt Minute requeStS• Do not wait until the last minute to introduce a problem or concern via email.• Express questions or concerns when you have them, rather than accumulating them.• I am better able to answer your questions if you ask them early within an assignment or the semester. (I am a terrible mind reader.)
tAking profeSSorS by SurpriSe• Complaints about grades and projects should generally be discussed in person.• Express your concerns or questions in a timely manner.• Using a professional tone when voicing concerns about grades or policies will be received more favorably than: “Why did I get this grade?????”
uSing A profeSSionAL tone• Flaming is a virtual term • Flame fights are the for venting or sending equivalent of food fights inflammatory messages in and tend to affect observers email. in a very negative way.• Avoid flaming because it • What you say cannot be tends to create a great taken back; it is in black and deal of conflict that spirals white. out of control.
keep fLAMing under ControL• Before you send an email • Read your message twice message, ask yourself, before you send it and “would I say this to this assume that you may be person’s face?” misinterpreted when proof• Calm down before reading. responding to a message that offends you. Once you send the message it is gone.
reSponding to A fLAMe• Empathize with the • Avoid getting bogged down sender’s frustration and tell by details and minor them they are right if that is arguments true • If you are aware that the• If you feel you are right, situation is in the process of thank them for bringing the being resolved let the matter to your attention reader know at the top of• Explain what led to the the response problem in question • Apologize if necessary
When email Won’t Work • There are times when you need to take your discussion out of the virtual world and speak to the recipient in person.