Friday, August 24, 2007

E-Mail Etiquette

(After a scramble to look up how to spell "etiquette", I can now proceed with today's post).

With the advent of the Internet and the ease of electronic communication, e-mail* has been increasingly popular in the workplace. I work. Thus, I receive 50,000 e-mails a day (an exaggeration, yes, but sometimes it feels like that), and have daily opportunities to cringe.

One thing I really hate in an e-mail is when the sender puts their whole message in the subject line. Perhaps it's because I hate long subject lines; I think they should be short and to the point. Plus, then I have to go to all the trouble of opening the e-mail to find that there is nothing there. I'm annoyed--but maybe I'm just picky.

The other e-mail rules that I hate when people violate are when they give you a word. That's all the message is--a word or two. I'm sorry, at least take the trouble to type a proper salutation and sign off. It's communication after all.**

And finally***, the people who obviously don't read over their e-mails before they send them out. We've all seen them--horrible misspellings, lack of punctuation, or just fuzzy sentences that you think you know what they are talking about, but you can't be sure. A simple re-read would catch some of the mistakes. But in their hurry to type something out, individuals often forget that there could be someone who is judging them by the state of their correspondence. I'm always careful when I e-mail people because I know they are aware of me as an English major. I'm also careful when I e-mail other professionals or e-mail authority figures because I want my communication to reflect my quality of work and dedication to my job or pursuits. It's inevitable that we are to be judged based on our communication, and somehow running Spell Check in Outlook before sending an e-mail seems like such a simple step to prevent a bad impression.

*This is actually the proper way to spell the word, since it is a shortened form of "electronic mail". But in their haste, people don't ever put the hyphen. I put it as a small form of protest against careless writing.

**This rule doesn't count if the e-mail is part of ongoing correspondence. In that case, it's like a phone conversation.

***Don't EVEN get me started on those stupid forwards. Since I'm concentrating on e-mail in a professional setting, I'll pretend like those e-mails don't exist.


Anonymous said...

haha I would have admit that I don't reread emails, but then again I don't break any other rules. So two out of three ain't bad. I just hate to re-read and correct bad spelling and grammar.

Donna B. said...

THANK you for standing up for the hyphen in e-mail. I always spell it that way after reading a newspaper writer opine that he couldn't help pronouncing "email" as "em-mail" in his mind.

Jenn said...

Haha, Donna! That's great--I giggled to myself as I imagined some guy sitting and saying with confusion: "em-mail, em-mail...oh E-MAIL". :)