How To Understand Email Etiquette

If you are new to the Internet, you may be ready to indulge in some of the simplest pleasures available to you. One of those simple pleasures and the most readily available is email.

Hearing the chime of "You've got mail" or seeing the number next to your inbox and knowing you have mail from friends, family, or business associates can be quite exciting in the beginning. However, if you are curious about etiquette issues you may feel at a loss.

This article will explain how to have good email etiquette in a few easy steps.

  1. Consider the Person you are Emailing, before You Begin Typing. It is extremely easy to fall into the Internet Language Trap. Things like LOL, LMAO, BTW, IMO, BRB, and other acronyms will become common parts of your chat lingo. However, these terms are not going to be appreciated in every email you send.

    Having an idea of who you are emailing and what you plan to say will remind you to keep that professional tone when it is needed. It will also allow you to portray a friendly and personal tone to the letter whether you are emailing a business associate and addressing them by name or a family member whom you are calling by the nickname that you gave them years before.

  2. Keep your Email Simple and to the Point. If you are emailing someone, handle it as you would if you were talking to him or her on the phone. Say what you need to say to them, check for grammar and spelling mistakes, and then send the email.

    If you are replying to an email, say what you need to, answer any questions, and try to stay as close to the topic as possible. A concise email is going to be easily readable. If a reply is needed the recipient should have no trouble replying to any questions or comments you have made.

    Remember these emails are still representing you just like a traditionally mailed letter or a phone call would represent you. Just because a person cannot see you, does not mean they cannot form an opinion of your intelligence and common sense based on your email.

  3. Always Check your Spelling and Punctuation before Sending. Nothing is harder to read than a message that was not clearly typed out or thoroughly checked for grammar and spelling errors.

    How would you feel if you received an email that had plenty of misspelled words and no periods were used through the entire email? You probably would not like it. If that is the case, remember that by sending a letter like that you are making yourself look sloppy and uneducated. Besides, the majority of email programs today come with spell check in them. You should be able to check your spelling without a problem.

    If you need help with your grammar, you can easily paste your text into Microsoft Word or another word processor to check your grammar as well before sending off your email.

  4. If you are Replying to an Email, Reply in a Reasonable Amount of Time. This is a common courtesy more that anything. If you emailed someone and asked them something, you would hope to receive an email back in a reasonable amount of time.

    You should remember that when you receive an email it needs to be replied to as quickly and efficiently as possible. The majority of emails only take a moment to answer, so there is truly no reason to let an email sit in your inbox for days before getting to it.

    A good practice to take up is to check and answer whatever email you have waiting for you as soon as you get on the Internet and as soon as you get off of it. If you want to check it multiple times while you are online that is fine, but always get into of the practice of at least checking it when you sign on and when you sign off.

  5. Do not Forward Jokes and Chain Letters. As tempting as this may seem to you, it will be very annoying to others. No matter what a chain letter says, you can assume it is not true.

    No one is going to get a free trip to Disney World, a free computer, or have a life saved because you sent out their email. Not only are these chain letters lying, they are annoying to people around the world. Do not add to the annoyance by continuing the chain.

    If you do feel the need to send out jokes you should ask people before you send them this type of material. Some people will welcome jokes in inboxes and others will not. It is always polite to discover a person's preference before you make the decision for them.

  6. Always Read your Letter Before You Send It. This should only take a few minutes and it could save you a lot of aggravation in the end. Reading your letter one last time before you send it will allow you to check for any spelling errors manually. You will also have a chance to gauge the tone of your email.

    Unfortunately, because you cannot see who you are typing to, you cannot rely on body language when speaking. Many people read things and can get the wrong idea. By reading your email, you will have a chance to get an unbiased opinion of what the person reading it will think you meant, even if you might not have meant those things.

    If you see anything that could cause any potential problems you can fix them before sending them or remove them if you think they are not important.


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