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Email Etiquette: The Art of Electronic Communication – Part 1

Samyak Lalit | November 23, 2011 (Last update: September 13, 2019)

Samyak Lalit is an Indian author and disability rights activist. He is the principal author and founder of projects like TechWelkin, WeCapable, Viklangta, Kavita Kosh among many others.

Do you know the manners of emailing? Are there any etiquette or rules that we all should follow to keep email communication clean and effective? Well, yes, there are certain email etiquette. Following these rules will help you in your profession.

Email is almost like a lifeline in today’s world. This facility of sending electronic messages instantly anywhere in the world has totally changed the way the world used to communicate. With such a sea-change of course the etiquette of writing email messages have also undergone great changes. Let’s have a look at few important dos and don’t of  emailing. These are good practices of email communications. Earlier, I had written a similar article on radio communication etiquette.

  • Don’t use capital letters to write email. Use of capital letters is equivalent to shouting in electronic form. You may use a few words in capital if you want to put emphasis on them. Another way to emphasize words is to enclose them between asterisks.
  • Don’t forward chain emails. 99.9% of such emails are spam and do not have any connection with the stated purpose. Spammers often target our weak emotional points like religion, poverty, cruelty against animals to create unnecessary traffic on Internet.
  • Unless you have a very good reason to do so, do not send an email with lots of receivers in “To” field. By putting everyone’s addresses in “To” field you are actually exposing everyone’s email address to everyone else. This is not acceptable. You should rather put your own email address in “To” field and everyone else’s addresses in “BCC” field to hide their email IDs.

Email etiquettes

  • Try to use gender neutral language if the target of your email are both men and women. Most people tend to use masculine language (i.e. use of he, him, his etc.) –but in today’s world it is better to avoid it.
  • Although it is convenient to include “Thanks and Regards” in your signature –but it is better not done. Signature text appears on ALL the emails that you send and there could be certain situations where such automatically included lines  may not fit the context. Signature text should ideally include only your contact information.
  • Avoid using multiple punctuation marks. A number of people tend to use repeated instances of “!” and “?”. Repetition causes show of emphasis and that in turn might sound rude or insulting.
  • It is important that you don’t make spelling mistakes. Also don’t use abbreviations or shortened SMS like words (e.g. writing “u” for “you”)
  • It is better not to send too many attachments. First zip all the files and then attach the zip file as one attachment.
  • Do not send executable (.exe) files. Such files are often marked as spam and if you’ve received such files from an untrusted source, they may contain viruses.
  • Before pressing “Reply All” button –think twice. Use this facility only if it is really required. People don’t appreciate emails that are useless to them.
  • DO NOT send advertisements in emails. For example, do not send invitation to read your blog post by email. Instead allow willing people to subscribe to you blog and get updates by email.
  • Do not assume that your email shall be read quickly by the receiving person. Because of being instant communication method a lot of people assume that their email shall be read as soon as they will send it. This is wrong. The receiver will read email at convenience –just like s/he reads postal mail.
  • Has somebody written an “inflammatory” email? Well, such emails are called “flames” and these contain insulting, derogatory words and accusations towards you. If you have been “flamed” the best way is to ignore such emails. But if you really want to replymake sure you don’t send a flame back! Be logical, rational and composed in your replies.

To learn even more, do not forget to read the second part of this article on email etiquette. Also, please feel free to comment and let me know if you want anything else to add to this list. Thank you for using TechWelkin.


One response to “Email Etiquette: The Art of Electronic Communication – Part 1”

  1. ramesh kanwal says:

    nice to see the contents.
    thank you

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