5 Email Etiquette Tips

June 11th, 2009 | Posted in Misc | Comments Off

one of the biggest problems with most forms of digital communication (email, instant messaging, forums, etc.) is that most people tend to forget about etiquette (the basic rules of communicating clearly and politely).

Here’s some good guidelines that everybody we should follow.

1. Never assume everyone knows everything.

Remember that everyone has to start sometime and that just because you consider something so basic that “everybody” ought to know it, there’s always newbies that haven’t yet learned those basics that you consider so obvious. To them it’s not obvious at all.

It’s also a good idea to remember that not everyone will agree with you about what is or is not important or worth reading. Perhaps you might auto-delete an email about an ephedra diet pill but it’s just as likely that somebody else will find it a great discovery.

2. Take time to examine e-mails and unsubscribe from things.

It seems like everywhere you go these days somebody is asking for your email address. Newsletter subscriptions, when you buy something online, etc. This ends up turning into tons of email landing in your inbox every day.

A good spam filter can help dispose of a lot of it but it’s also a good idea to look through some of that spam once in a while and unsubscribe from the mailing lists.

Even if you only do a few of those a day, you’ll eventually make noticeable progress in cutting down the spam you receive.

3. Respond to e-mails as soon as possible.

Aside from the clutter and confusion that can be avoided in your inbox, responding to emails as soon as possible will keep you from forgetting to do so. It also shows the other party that their email to you was important enough to reply quickly

4. Choose your words carefully

In the online world it’s all too easy to be misunderstood because the people you’re communicating with can’t see your facial expressions or hear the tone of your voice. This means that if it’s possible for something you say to be taken more than one way, it’s a good idea to clarify which context you’re speaking in. It may be obvious to you that you were just making a joke or being sarcastic but others, especially when you’re talking to people who don’t know you.

5. Don’t forward e-mails unless you have to

When you get one of those e-mails from someone that’s jokes, inspirational stories or other cutesy thing that is the current rage. Stop and think twice before deciding to pass it on. If you do decide that you simply MUST share it with somebody, copy and paste it in a new e-mail so that you are not including e-mail addresses of everybody else that’s gotten it and passed it on. If you decide that’s to much work to bother with then perhaps it’s not worth forwarding in the first place

Just remember that those multiple forwarded emails don’t actually accomplish anything. Microsoft or Bill Gates is NOT going to give you a million dollars if it gets sent to a bazillion people. About all it’s going to do is waste a lot of people’s time and piss off mail server admins when their system load triples because of things like that.

Technorati Tags: email etiquette, email, email subscriptions, clutter, email tips

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