Friday, 29 April 2011

Some email etiquette

A not-so-recent incidence triggered me to share some of my thoughts about composing, sending and replying emails (had put this away for some time…)

Technology is both a blessing and a curse. Depends on how we use it and what we use it for.

When composing emails (esp formal ones), please

  • at least, include a proper subject title. Imagine if you received an email without any subject or non-sensible subject like “need help” or “please read”, and one might think it’s a spam or something along that line. I would most probably ignore it or put it to my least priority, moreover if it was the first time receiving email from a new collegue or classmate, I would probably delete it (there are viruses spreading around).
  • try to avoid vague subject titles like “meeting”, “the faculty letters”, “notes you borrowed”. It is difficult to judge what the email is all about and difficult to sort later on when we need to find a particular email. I’d like to use something like “LPP1123: Assignment 1 – Meeting”. Clearly speaks out this email is about a course/ subject/ something coded/ named LPP1123, and it has something to do with a meeting on Assignment 1 (if one insist that organizing simple stuff like this is totally not his/her style, then good luck with his/her life)
  • address the recipient(s) and give an e-signature. Email is not a chatroom, especially if it is for a formal matter.
  • try to avoid using all CAPITAL LETTERS. It is VERY RUDE to type a letter all in CAPS. It is as though the email is shouting out loud at the recipient! (just like Ron’s letter from mom in Harry Potter).

When reading emails, please

  • read properly the content of the email and not just any sentence(s) one would like to read and interpret it out of context and act on it (Eg. asking questions which could be found in the mail itself), leading to a chain of Q&A or misunderstanding.
  • be careful, there might be P/S (s)

When replying, please

  • make sure it is reply or reply all or there is a specific instruction whom to reply to. Sending off mass replies doesn’t help to built good network with the recipients
Just my opinion.

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