Explanation : Email has become very prevalent in most people’s lives and many use it to cheaply and quickly communicate with friends, family, and co-workers. Although this technology is available to everyone, and most people are accustomed to using email, people still are not very savvy when it comes to understanding how email functions in a relationship both personally and professionally. How we interpret email : While most people are aware that the computer is not a person and that email does not have a character of its own, many people still react to it as though they do. Readers assign meaning to everything that people write and tend to perceive it as concrete because it is in black and white (or whatever color you may choose). This response, coupled with a lack of nonverbal cues, poses a serious challenge for email writers. It is easy for email to be misinterpreted because people write as though they are having a conversation; however, the receiver does not read that way. Ask the audience: How many times have you received an email and felt a little put off by the message even though it was from a good friend? Have you ever sent an email that upset or confused someone? What was it like to be in that situation and what did you do to clear up the misunderstanding? It is because of these uncomfortable situations that some ground rules on email etiquette were established and why email writers should be mindful of them.
Explanation: Many complain that writers of email do not take the time to be personable. One way to remedy this and extend good will toward the reader is to add a salutation for each new subject. “Dear,” “Hello,” and “Hi” are all acceptable greetings. If a writer is communicating with someone about the same subject (for example, authorization for overtime) then it is considered acceptable to just begin the email with the first sentence. Length: A number of experts have a wide range of opinions on how lengthy an email should be. Some say that it does not matter and others say that an email should be as long as the text box without scrolling. Both perspectives appear to be correct. In general emails should be short and to the point. This workshop is going to cover how to effectively write a long email on slide #11 titled “When Your Message is Long.” Time: It is considered rude not to respond to an email as soon as possible. Writers should strive to respond to emails as quickly as they would a phone message, which tends to be immediately. If the email requires a longer message than the writer is able to provide at that moment, it is considered proper etiquette to let the sender know that the message was received and that the writer is planning to respond as soon as time permits. Grammar and Punctuation: For the professional work world it is imperative that writers use capitalization, grammar, and other traditional ways of writing to include neutral fonts. Plain Text vs. HTML: Not all email is formatted to read html. It is best to send everything in plain text unless the writer knows for certain that the person he or she is writing can read html.
Alert: People may become confused about how to accomplish this. Most email programs will generally account for this now. Directions for Netscape email users: Click on the “Edit” menu on the task bar. Click on the “preferences” option. Choose the “Mail & Newsgroups” option. Click on the “Messages” option. Look to the right of the menu and focus on the “message wrapping” section. Be sure the number of characters selected for outgoing messages is between 70-80 characters. Directions for Non-Netscape email users: Writers should consult their instructional booklet or click on “help” in their email session to determine how to set their preferences. Most emails have a preferences option for their email. Reminder: If the message is likely to be forwarded it should be less than 60 characters so that it will work with anyone’s email software.
Explanation: This is one of many ways to organize information within an email document. It’s an effective way to make the information flow more logically and it helps the reader to know the proper order of the information in the email in a very clear and concise way. *Angell and Heslop
Explanation: The main point of this slide is to help participates understand the importance of tone. These are ways to create a document that sounds friendly and “nonverbally” open. While it is important to follow rules of punctuation and grammar in email, using contractions can create a conversational style that isn’t intimidating. Remind students that tone is dependent on audience -- an email to a co-worker might have a substantially different tone than email to a boss. Ask them to think about situations and determine appropriate tones for them. *Angell and Heslop
Explanation: Attachments can sometimes cause more headaches than help, and it can be difficult for the recipient(s) to figure out why they are unable to download an attachment. One way to help is to provide all of the important information about the file so that the recipient can trouble shoot to something more serious if there is a problem other than incompatibility. Also, due to viruses that spread via e-mail attachments, it’s important that the recipient know that the sender meant for an attachment to be included with the message, and what kind of attachment it is, since opening unknown attachments could cause serious damage to the recipient’s system and spread viruses further. Always check any attachments you are going to send for viruses, and never open unknown attachments!
Why a summary? We all know what it is like to inundated with email, so much so that is difficult to figure out what emails have priority over others. If there is a brief summary at the top readers can make a decision about whether to save the email for later or finish it at that time. Other explanations : If the reader needs to respond immediately to the email then that should be conveyed in the first paragraph; otherwise, that message may be overlooked and the writer will not receive the response as quickly as one is needed.
Explanation: One of the quickest ways to frustrate someone is to surprise him or her by either copying a complaint to both him or her and their boss (skipping over the chain of command) or waiting until the end of the day to introduce a problem. This is likely to compromise the complaint’s effectiveness and alienate the writer from his or her audience. Once the audience is alienated, co-workers and employers may not express any empathy toward the writer, his or her concerns may not be addressed in a timely manner, the message may be ignored, or the writer may receive a flippant email. Rather than take readers by surprise writers should address concerns as soon as possible and with as much decorum and diplomacy as possible.
Explanation: Professors find themselves inundated with email from their department and from their students. Students who are exercising appropriate netiquette understand that they should respect the boundaries set by their teachers. Some professors will tell the students how often they check their email and let them know the best way a student can communicate with them outside of the classroom. If they do not, it is acceptable to approach the teacher and clarify that point. Some students will choose email as a forum for venting their frustrations about the class as a way to avoid speaking directly with the professor. In certain cases this may be acceptable if written with propriety. It is expected that some students are shy. However, it is critical to follow the steps laid out in this presentation on writing sensitive documents. Also, students should be reminded that they need to contact their teachers as soon as they have a concern, not later. Reminder: It is important to remind students that they should always consider their situation and the relationship they have with their instructor or professor. There are always exceptions to the rules as some professors prefer to deal with email and others not. Students should consider writing an email generalizing their concerns and then if need be, make an appointment to see the professor.
Explanation : Many people become frustrated with a co-worker, boss, or office policy and have the need to vent that frustration. However, there are some serious problems with flaming and it should happen sparingly in emails.
Explanation: It is easy for writers to let their guards down when communicating electronically because they are not actually getting immediate feedback. The nature of communication changes. Sometimes people tend to do and say things over email and on electronic mailing lists that they would never do in an office meeting or face to face with a co-worker. It is essential that the participants understand how unproductive flaming emails are and the snowball effect they can have in the office (because they can be forwarded or printed). Reminder: Do not use obscene or abusive language and do not flame in a public forum like a message group or electronic mailing list. *Angell and Heslop
Explanation: When responding to a flame, the respondent must do his or her best to remain professional and neutral. Emails are infamous for creating misunderstandings. Try to be as clear as possible and as empathetic as possible. If none of the above tactics work then it is most appropriate to take this concern outside of the electronic sphere and into the traditional interpersonal (face to face) sphere. *Angell and Heslop
Explanation: Not all messages are best delivered via email. There are many instances when one should stop and say, “It’s time to meet or talk in person because we’ve gotten as far as we can through email.” Generally, most people are agreeable to talking in person. Reminder: Because of the facelessness of email there are a number of misunderstandings and misperceptions that can occur.
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.