Stakeholders (Audience and related people)? Subject? Importance? Sender & Recipient Internet Connections? Are all issues that you have to think of while sending and email. If you wish to send email messages in a more effective manner following the broad email etiquette standards, then DO continue reading.
In this article, we will try to touch upon the various important issues pertaining to email etiquettes and protocols:
Inbox related Tips
Organize your Mail – use filters (per person / company / subject / Recipient Status – To, Cc or BCc) to organize your inbox and outbox. Software that may help you do so include Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express. This way you’ll be able to optimize on your email receipt, reading and – in turn – responding as you have everything your mails sorted according to the priorities you set.
Email Writing & Sending Tips
Who are the Stakeholders? – and what are their significance with regard to your e-mail’s subject? If you’re writing an email at work to report an incident or to follow up on a particular project deadline/ due date, then you’ll probably have the following set up:
To: Your actual main recipient (to whom this email is a must read)
Cc: (send a Carbon copy) of the email to your interested parties.
There are 2 famous perceptions for who to place in the Cc recipient section of your email message.
One view point is to have your direct manager, and probably your recipient’s direct manager. This copy is usually kept for reference and managers don’t usually refer to them or read them unless they have extra time OR a problem concerning this email has risen.
The opposing view point (applied in some other places around the world) is to place the people who are in the FYI (For your information) category in the Cc section. These people need to know the information to perform the work better, but they need not (necessarily) respond to the email. Advocates of this view point do not Cc their managers.
BCc: (send a Blind Carbon copy) of the email to some other party that you think needs to know about the subject, without letting other parties (i.e. the To and Cc recipients) know about this person’s knowledge.
Recipient’s Connection: if you go ahead and type a long email with attachments and pictures and send it to someone whose Internet connection is a slow dial up, then he/she might as well post pone reading it – if at all!
Work Schedule – Busy? Keeping an email short and to the point is essential as he/she might have hundreds of other emails to read.
Accepts HTML? You might as well check with your recipient prior to sending him/her emails with HTML content as most people usually switch this option off to reduce the size of their email messages.
Jargon: Try to avoid abbreviations and field-specific jargon so that your recipient may understand you. More often than not, engineers – for example – tend to use their abbreviations while addressing even their top management – who may have forgotten the meaning of such technical lingo.
According to Nancy Flynn and Tom Flynn: ‘By requiring employees to use appropriate, businesslike language in all electronic communications, employers can limit their liability risks and improve the overall effectiveness of the organization’s e-mail and Internet copy in the process’
Importance: Classifying your email in terms of Importance, Urgency and Confidentiality also adds a taste of understanding for the recipient. You may even make it obvious for the recipient to act upon by clearly identifying the e-mail’s properties in a table at the top of your contents.
Try to make it easier for your recipient to understand the purpose of the email. You may even define your email messages as “Requiring action”, “FYI – For Your Information”, “Requires Reply”, “Time sensitive”, or other action, time, or sensitivity related key words right at the beginning.
Moreover, spam controller programs often eliminate or rule as “Junk” email messages without subjects or with ambiguous meaning.
Caps – Never use capital letters while typing and email message to anyone. For starters, caps are considered impolite and resemble shouting in speech (Ellen Dowling).
Genre of Topic – Avoid mixing subjects in your email. Unless otherwise needed by your superior or work culture, mixing subjects in one email message might confuse your readers. At least, don’t mix the type of message; if you’re discussing work then stay focused on work topics without straying to personal issues.
Proof read – Always proof read your email prior to sending it. It may take you a minute, and it may take you 10, but after all you’ll be sure that the message you sent is free of grammatical, vocabulary and appropriate usage errors.
Subject Line – what you write in the subject line is almost as important as the email itself. In most cases, what your subject line is determines whether or not the recipient will read your email, or even when he/she shall read it.