Top 7 Recommendations For Professional Email Netiquette
By Wild Bill Montgomery
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- Don't use all CAPS:
You may think that using all CAPS may seem attractive, but using all caps is found to be amateurish if not completely annoying. Think about it. If you open a message that has only a few starting sentences that are all caps, you more than likely delete it as spam. Professionals and new users alike are so accustomed to seeing this poor "eye-catching" technique in their "junk mail" every day that most of us delete them out of habit.
- Keep your signature file down to 6 lines or less:
If your message was deserving enough to earn my attention, congratulations! I have read it and I have read your name at the end. To that point you have gained my attention. Don't make the mistake of thinking that I want to read another entire paragraph of your ad material. Keep your "sig" file short with the essentials and keep my attention. Your name, your email address, your URL, your Web site name and a short catch-phrase advertising your product or service. Don't scare me off with too much text when I thought I was done.
- Please double space between paragraphs:
Even if you don't consciously realize it yet, your brain requires "breathers" and looks forward to that line break. Now, maybe I have been at it too long, but whenever I receive emails or newsletters where a new paragraph is simply indented with no line break between, it becomes slightly overwhelming and never-ending. Do your reader(s) a favor; double space between paragraphs and give them time to absorb what you have said so far.
- Subject headings are for "identifiable" subjects:
"Hi" doesn't cut it with me, mister. If I don't recognize your email address or the name that shows in place of it, why would I open yours out of the other 100 I have received. If you have an important message for me, use a short (5 words or less) phrase, which makes it clear why I should open your email. If you're emailing other professionals, remember that many of us receive such enormous amounts of junk mail that we must sometimes delete mail based on the "subject heading" alone. I'm sorry, but unless I know you, I just don't have time for "Hi."
- Please don't forward your trash to me:
Short of spamming me with your useless promises of riches, the easiest way to get blackballed from my email is to send me useless garbage to fill my mailbox. If I did have the time to feel lonely, I'd join a chat room. If I'm feeling humorous, I have a wife and a 5-year-old to entertain me. If I want my horoscope, I'll look it up myself. I don't need to see your jokes, your chain letters or your personal thoughts on religion. If you have something genuinely beneficial, great. But don't send your garbage to me!
- Text-based email is not for wanna-be Web designers:
Hey, we all know that text-based email can be sort of drab and boring, but please keep the dime-store window dressing to a minimum. I'm not saying that ASCII pics or dividers don't make nice little breaks between messages. But for goodness sakes, it doesn't take 5 lines of plus signs between each paragraph or a photo layout of the "wall peaker" throughout your message to break up the monotony. I'm here for a reason and text-based art work isn't it pal! So take it easy on me.
- Reply with the original message attached please:
How many times have you received a message that says nothing but "yes" or another anonymous message that makes absolutely no sense to anybody without the question attached. Unless you are carrying on a conversation back and forth that you know will be answered immediately, don't assume that I'll know what you're talking about. It could be days before I get to your reply. Some of you may have a photographic memory, but others of us have trouble remembering what we had for dinner last night. So please include the original message so I can refresh my memory on our discussion.
Top Mistake of this Writer:
I held this one for the end because this was and occasionally still is my own number one mistake. Being a highly passionate person, I can react, or should I say overreact to something on the spur of any given moment. One of the many reasons I picked this work is that I have to time to think before I (virtually) speak. I have to admit that keeping my big mouth shut was always the hardest thing for me to accomplish. Apart from being passionate, I am also very opinionated. Although these can be admirable qualities in some circles, working through email offers me the time to think about what I say before I
put my foot in my mouth.
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Article Submitted On: June 12, 2000