by Alisha Johnson, Ensley Branch Library
In an effort to interact less face to face, we are often tempted to take short cuts with the way we communicate with one another. Taking this approach can lead to some very undesirable results and could possibly be the end of a friendship, business partnership, or even employment. One of the ways that we have grown very accustomed to communicating is via email. We use this tool in our personal lives as well as our professional lives. It is very important, that while taking advantage of this resource, we consider our audiences and how we present ourselves to them at any given moment. Like many things, there are rules that one should follow when putting thoughts on paper to convey a message.
One should make sure that the reason for writing is very clear in the subject line of the email. Some people make a determination on whether to open an email or not based off of the subject line. Also, depending on your audience, you want to ensure that you use a professional email address, rely on your own eyes as a spell check, consider that some things may not convey the same message on paper as it would in a face-to-face interaction, and make sure that you understand that emails are a written record of things that you communicate.
Using a professional email address will help those reading to take you more seriously, especially if you are in a business setting. One knows that spell check can be a very helpful tool with catching some of the pesky grammatical and spelling errors, but we also must be confident in our own abilities to pinpoint errors. Even though your intentions may be good, when writing an email different people have different views of the world and will interpret written words as their experience permits. Be careful with how you say what you say. Lastly, never put things in an email that could get you into trouble if read by the wrong person. We should all be mindful of these nifty etiquette rules and heavily consider our online presence just as we do our physical presence.
Check out these helpful resources at your local library:
E-mail and Business Letter Writing by Lynn Brittney
E-mail Etiquette: Do’s, Don’ts, and Disaster Tales from People Magazine's Internet Manners Expert by Samantha Miller
Undeliver@ble: E-mail Etiquette for Today's Workplace (DVD)
More e-mail etiquette materials
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