Occasionally there are articles, stories, or blogs on the internet regarding email usage and I am immediately interested in what the article has to say. I recently caught an article in my query regarding “7 email etiquette rules every professional should know”. I read it and found several of the suggestions to be excellent reminders of how culturally we should reinforce good email usage and etiquette.
I include a few of the seven here with my own commentary and then will provide you a link to the article so that you can review the other rules. I would love to see if any of you have a few pet peeves or suggestions on how to professionally use email.
I first want to say that email, along with other electronic communication, seems to cause users to ignore any professional habit of writing, grammar, spelling, or etiquette they may have been taught in a high school English class. I’m sure this must also be true in any other language. I speak Spanish as well and I can certainly say that I have experienced similar usage lapses in that language as well. It is not to say that electronic communication always has to be formal, boring, or without some allowances – but I do think that in a professional setting, I prefer a more professional style and set of rules.
So here goes… <copied from the article>
Rule #1: Use a professional email address.
“If you work for a company, you should use your company email address. But if you use a personal email account — whether you are self-employed or just like using it occasionally for work-related correspondences — you should be careful when choosing that address, Pachter says.
You should always have an email address that conveys your name so that the recipient knows exactly who’s sending the email. Never use email addresses (perhaps remnants of your grade-school days) that are not appropriate for use in the workplace, such as “diva@…” or “babygirl@…”
<Dean> Amen! I usually edit my contact entries to obscure the actual email address for most users. I have to wonder what impression an email address must make for a person when they add that ‘goofy’ email address to their resume and/or business card!
Rule #2: Reply to your emails — even if the email wasn’t intended for you.
It’s difficult to reply to every email message ever sent to you, but you should try to, Pachter says. This includes when the email was accidentally sent to you, especially if the sender is expecting a reply. A reply isn’t necessary, but serves as good email etiquette, especially if this person works in the same company or industry as you.
Here’s an example reply: “I know you’re very busy, but I don’t think you meant to send this email to me. And I wanted to let you know so you can send it to the correct person.”
Aside from these email tips, always make sure to proof your messages so that there aren’t any jarring mistakes that make you seem unprofessional. Pachter advises to always add the email address last so that the email doesn’t accidentally send before you’re ready.
<Dean>Last year, I spent several months sending out individual texts to a group of people to organize a youth basketball league. After 3 months, I had one recipient reply that they had not lived in the state for over a year and were not the right contact! 3 months of messages that not only gave the impression that communication was being received, but worse – 3 months where the right person had no idea what was going on! So thoughtful….
Rule #3: Think twice before hitting “reply all.”
No one wants to read emails from 20 people when it has nothing to do with them. They could just ignore the emails, but many people get notifications of new messages on their smartphones or distracting pop-up messages on their computer screens. Refrain from hitting “reply all” unless you really think everyone on the list needs to receive the email, Pachter says.
<Dean> This is one where the software needs to come to the rescue of the user. Suggestions?
Rule #4: Replying just to say ‘Thank you’ OR ‘Got it’.
<Dean> I added this one to this list. This is my own pet peeve. While this practice demonstrates manners and common courtesy, it also costs me extra time to read, process, and delete the message OR worse…reply with my own….‘No, Thank YOU!’ message – just so that I can keep the thread alive and because of this deep need to be just as courteous. I love to start a Thank you war – they are so much fun and not professional 🙂
It is also my opinion that email should create tools and actions that allow me to acknowledge the sender in some way without putting another message in their inbox that they have to process. Many social tools do this with mechanism similar to ‘like’. I would love to see several options that allows me to ‘Like’, ‘Send Thanks’, ‘Got it’, ‘Wrong recipient’, OR others.
What would you like to see or what solution do you have for this problem?
Here is the link to the article: You can read the other four rules you should follow. Also – please comment and tell me what other professional rules you would like to pass along.