Dwight Watt Georgia Kiwanian Article

March 2008

E-mail Etiquette

A short reminder this month on how to send your e-mails so they are the moist effective. Recent studies say 80% of all e-mail on the Internet is spam. Most of us do not see most of it as filtering software blocks it, however some still gets thru and not using proper e-mail etiquette may result in your message not being read.

First off DONíT TYPE the message in all caps. It is harder to read in all caps, not as friendly looking and when you want to convey something as yelling at recipient you use all caps. So watch the caps lock key.

Use a subject that is brief and describes the purpose of the e-mail. If it is to a specific group of people put that at the beginning of the subject line. If it was about the international convention you might start line as KI Convention. Then describe as a title what the e-mail is about. Keep important words to the start as the view may (probably will) cut off the subject line after a limited number of character. Donít write your e0-mail in the subject line, yes I have seen this done several times.

Although most people now use a e-mail program that reads and displays HTML coded e-mail not all people do. It would be better to send your message in text format whether than HTML if you do not know all recipients have HTML e-mail programs. If the message is to others at your company and everyone is on Outlook then HTML is fine. However sent to home accounts, etc you may want to stay to text messages.

Always put your name at the bottom of the message if you want people to know you sent it. This is especially true if you want a response. I get messages from students with strange e-mail addresses (superwoman@xyzisp.net) and they ask me a question about their assignments and do not sign and I look at the message and go Who sent this?, Which class are they taking? The signature tool will handle this automatically on your messages if you set it up. Some of us use the signature as a formal ending (full name, address and title) and therefore usually if want e-mail to sound more friendly finish with just regular name before it. My signature says Dwight Watt, EdD, MCSE, COI, so I usually put Dwight at end of e-mail just I would sign a letter with Dwight.

Try to stay direct on what you are sending and also read your message to make sure you said what you intended. Remember with e-mail people cannot see your facial expressions or hear your voice inflections to catch the extras in what is being written. Smiley faces : ) can help to show joke or sadness but donít overdo. Using the character smiley faces may not get to recipient because of non-html or filters so be careful

If you are the reader of the e-mail realize that you cannot see the expressions and if you read something absurd in an e-mail read it again and try to think like author and see if you realize what they were intending. We have thin skins and throw stones sometimes too quickly.

Spell-check your message and try to watch for wrong word correct spelling. In many cases your e-mail program will automatically spell-check on sending. However glitches on the computer can prevent the spell checker from working. If must be manually done try to get in habit of spell check before send button just as we put seatbelt on before putting car in drive. However if you receive an e-mail with errors donít rake the sender over the coals as they may have had to send it in a hurry or had another crisis hit.

We can all work together to make e-mail an effective communication tool by being good senders and receivers.


Copyright 2008 by Dwight Watt