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Basics of Email Etiquette

The basics of email etiquette is one of the easiest subjects to research if you are looking for funny ways people get it wrong. We all get junk mail, and if you are silly enough to read it then you have probably seen how bad it gets. Here are some of the basics of email etiquette to ensure that the emails you send do then end up on Google images or a funny-image website such as Funny Junk.

Get your spellings right

This happens all the time with personal and business emails. People send pictures of their baby, calling their baby their little “angle”, or send pictures of their “sun” on his first day of school. Many business emails have been sent complaining about the high number of “misteaks” in their department. They are especially fun on email adverts, such as the one advertising learning videos that said, “So fun, they won’t even know their learning.”

Do not use names if you are not sure of them

Do not use the name of the recipient in the message unless you are 100% sure of that person’s name. This is especially true for newsletter signups, as far few people use their real name. If people really are using their real names, then there are far more Homer Simpsons, Benders, and Skywalkers out there than the national census takers are noting.

People do not use their real names because they are not that invested. The only time they do is when they have to, such as when entering bankcard information. But even then, you should be wary of using the name they give because it may not be their card they use. Plus, if the wrong person reads the message, then wouldn’t you still like the message to apply to them? (Especially if you are planning to sell something).

Be wary of conveying emotion

You should be wary of it on two points. If you intend to convey emotion, then make sure you are conveying the right one. Secondly, if you want your email to be devoid of emotion, then make sure it actually is.

To clarify these points, let’s say you want to show how you are excited about the new office furniture. A short message about how grateful you are may actually be seen as ingratitude. On the other hand, if you wrote too much on the subject then you may appear sarcastic (it is a tightrope).

On the other hand, if you want to write without adding emotion, then be aware that you can add it by accident. Over-use of descriptive words may convey excitement, whereas a complete lack of descriptive words may indicate the opposite. Again, there is a fine line between what you are trying to convey and the message that is received.

Do not use CC and BCC unless in a business situation

There is just no point. You can save the email to your draft box if you want to keep it. The recipient need not see what you have entered and you can always forward the message to others after you have sent it to the recipient.

Do you sign off or not?

In general, it is better to write something such as “Thanks”, “Cheers” or “Regards”, and then your name at the end of an email. However, if you are in frequent contact with the same person then you can give it a miss. It is only really needed if you do not frequently email that person or it is a strict professional relationship.

Keep your message concise, short and to the direct point

Keeping is concise means you do not use more words than you need to. Cut out the fluff and stick to the point and your message is concise. Keep it short unless circumstances do not permit. It is not fair making a person read reams of text if it is avoidable. Keep it to the direct-point means do not dance around an issue and do not include a preamble. If you are emailing to ask something or, say something, then just do it. All the preamble you need is something such as, “Hope you are well,” before you get right to the point.

Stick to black text on a white background

You need kicking in the chest if you think this tip is incorrect. There are so many ways you can get emails wrong, and this is one of the biggest. It looks ugly, it is pointless, it makes it harder to read, it makes it inconvenient to read and it dilutes your point--just don’t do it!

Do not highlight too many points

There are people that highlight text in bold or different colors to make a point. It is not a terrible sin, but it is very annoying if the person does it too often. If you are highlighting more than two things in your email then seriously reconsider. Use your words and sentences to make an impact instead of using cheap tricks such as highlighting things. Also, be aware that highlighting things is one of the “red flags” that many email companies use to determine what goes in the junk folder and what doesn’t.