Email Etiquette: It's Time We Stopped Writing Shoddy Emails
Author: Anahita Sahu
What is email etiquette?
The absolute essentials of any communication playbook, email etiquette lays down what is and isn’t appropriate when it comes to emailing your boss, colleagues, professional relations and acquaintances. A simple set of guidelines-these keep you covered and help you avoid any miscommunication and silly mistakes.
Why do we need email etiquette?
What is your first reaction when you receive an email that says, “We’ve gone over they’re proposal and it looks good”? Generally, it is either a) The sender does not know basic grammar or b) The sender did not bother to review the email before hitting send and most often, it is a) and b) both.
In a psychology experiment published in the North American Journal of Psychology, researchers found that poor language and punctuation negatively impacted a receiver’s perception of the sender’s intelligence, performance and social status. In fact, the authors drew the conclusion that “poor grammar and misspellings can imply that the sender is uneducated and hence of low status”.
Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, not only do you appear to be illiterate, but also appear to be irresponsible and incompetent. It is here that email etiquette swoops in and saves the day. Trust us and pocket these golden rules, for, in the long run, they can prove to be your ultimate secret weapon.
We Hate You If You Do This....
1. Subject, subject and subject
Ever wondered why Gmail repeatedly questions your decision to send an email sans the subject? Picture this – Your team has worked extremely hard over the entire week to draft a proposal for an important project you are heading. You email this painstakingly crafted proposal to your boss (who reviews over 100 emails/day) with no subject field. It goes to his spam, and because it says ‘no subject’ in the Inbox, it’s never opened on the assumption that well, it’s junk mail. Hence, your hard work lies there unnoticed and forgotten.
Your subject determines whether the email will be opened or not. Keep it TO THE POINT, CLEAR and FREE OF EMOTIONS AND SALUTATIONS. Simply put, “Hi” is a terrible subject line to open with.
Protip: Steer clear of ALL-CAPS or all-small that may give the impression of a spam mail.
2. Know the difference between CC and BCC
CC: If you wish to include someone else in the email thread, then CC them, especially if the content or the recipient is relevant and concerns them. CCing sends out the message that I’ve done my part and kept you in the loop, the choice to reply or not is entirely yours.
BCC: One of many email boons, BCC allows you to hide email addresses. For instance, when you are shooting out emails to prospective sponsors for an event you are organizing, it is a good idea to BCC the contacts since these sponsors don’t necessarily know each other. Therefore, if you send an email to Karan and Arjun, Arjun won’t know that Karan got it as well.
3. The Opener
In my opinion, it is safest to open with a casual salutation such as ‘Hi’. In today’s collaborative work atmosphere, ‘Dear’ sounds outdated and ‘To whomsoever, it may concern’ sounds stuffy and cold. Beware though, casual salutations like “Hey’ may be interpreted as overly enthusiastic and peculiarly intimate.