Thursday, August 18, 2011

Email Etiquette

How many emails do you send in a day? 5? 15? 50? Couple that with the different people you are communicating with and all of this can make for some difficulty when composing an email. Here, we will focus on emails that are in the more professional realm.
There are a few key things to keep in mind.  First, your audience; what is appropriate for a friendly email exchange with your co-worker isn’t going to work in an email to your boss. Second, your message; be concise and pleasant when sending any sort of professional email.  Third, the little things; remember that your word choice, spelling, and grammar/punctuation are important.  Word choice affects how the recipient of your email will perceive the tone of your email.  Try to stay in the professional/friendly/effective spectrum.  Misspelled words are a no-no at all times.  Most email programs will have a spellcheck function… make sure you use it! Lastly, proper grammar and punctuation indicate that you took more than 5 seconds to compose your message.
The basic formula for an email is below: 

1.   Appropriate Introductory Greeting: (Hello ____, or Dear _____)
2.   Identify yourself, your title, what you do (if relevant), and your place of work
3.   Mention the person who referred you to this person if you do not know them already   (ex. My supervisor, Joe Shmo, referred me to you…)
4.   Clearly state what information you need
5.   Give the person a deadline that is realistic and in line with your own personal project timelines
6.   Offer to provide more information in a follow up email or by phone and state your contact information
7.   Close with a positive sign off, and your signature.  

Do this:

·     Remember that email isn’t private: save personal emails for your own time and your personal computer/mobile device.

·     Use a signature that includes contact information.

·     Say please and thank you.  These have tremendous power and can really go a long way.

Don’t do this:

·     Use fancy fonts, colors, backgrounds, emoticons, or (gasp) clip art. 

·     Send an email when you are upset.  This is always a bad idea. Take a deep breath and then begin writing.

·     Ramble. Say hi, get to the point, and move on.

·     CC everyone.  It is rare that ‘everyone’ needs to know.  CC those that do, and leave it at that.

Please feel free to ask us your email etiquette questions below!