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Online Email Etiquette

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Have you ever rewritten an email again and again, simply because you’re unsure whether it sounded right? You’re not alone; rewriting email messages has become a daily routine we all share. It’s because the English language is dependent on how it’s heard and interpreted, or whether a message is delivered in writing or spoken to someone directly. The tone and sound of words can have a much different meaning if delivered in person or by email. The reason has a direct connection to our visual senses, body language, tone, and voice deflection. When these elements are removed from the conversation—as in written words—the interpretation has a much different meaning and intention. In essence, written emails need to be carefully written, sincere, and delivered with an etiquette that supports a request or message. And while it’s important to remember that good grammar and spelling are influential—emails don’t need to be formal but should reflect the senders genuine personality in the correspondence. Here are ten tips to craft more personal and receptive emails.

• Write emails as friendly notes, and make it personal when possible, so messages aren’t so plain and ordinary

• Focus on the message, tone, style, and voice—rather than writing a quick note in a short amount of time

• Read your emails out loud before hitting send. Hearing your message can determine correct tone

• When emailing instructions or constructive criticism choose words carefully—your message is dependent on its delivery

• When making a request, explain why a request is being made—keep long explanations short

• Respond to email within a reasonable time

• If late in responding to an email, acknowledge it and apologize

• Always remember to say please and thank you—it’s courteous to your reader

• Write as if your message will be shared with a million people—it could be, so be comfortable with the content

• Pay attention to emails you receive and how others craft their emails to you

One last notation. Most of the time our emails receive the responses we were hoping to attain, but occasionally we may receive a much different answer then we expected. This leads to more clarification in our message and a deeper understanding that our choice in words still require extra attention.

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