The Yahoo! Email-tiquette Guide in association with Jean Broke-Smith
After tabulating the results of the survey about email pet peeves that we ran last month on this blog, it turns out that your biggest email bugbear is the use of text speak in the body of an email. In fact, more than 1 in 5 of you think so. Here’s a list of the top five email pet peeves as voted by you our loyal blog readers:
- Use of text speak such as LOL and BTW (22%)
- Mass distribution emails to 5 or more recipients (16%)
- Use of ‘shouting’ CAPITAL letters (15%)
- No entry in subject line (12%)
- Read receipts (10%)
With those results in mind, we’ve teamed up with leading etiquette expert Jean Broke-Smith to put together the rules of email engagement. This guide should help you use email more effectively, and show you how you can get the most out of email.
Here it is the definitive guide to email etiquette and don’t forget to share it with your m8s ;-)
Do….create the right impression and banish the BTWs. People react to email within seconds of receiving it. As the Yahoo! research shows, text speak can be very annoying and shows a lack of correct spelling ability and laziness. It won’t impress!
Don’t… offend. Using capitals is the email equivalent of SHOUTING and is perceived as being extremely rude, so make sure your caps lock is switched off.
Do…. include a subject line. You’ve got three seconds to grab attention when an email appears and by not including a subject in the email, the chances of it being read are greatly reduced. Use the subject line for the purpose it was made and tell people what the email is about.
Don’t… use read receipts. Read receipts demonstrate a distinct lack of trust, so avoid where possible. Follow up with a phone call if you want to ensure your message has reached the right person.
Do… remember the recipient. The failsafe method for emailing is to imagine you are writing a succinct letter. Address the recipient in the correct manner and title. You can be light hearted and humorous as in any written communication, it is a just a matter of judgment. But if you don’t know the recipient, don’t be over familiar and sign off with the right degree of formality.
Don’t…. use CC and BCC unnecessarily. The no. 2 email bug bear is mass distribution of emails, so exercise constraint when it comes to copying people in. If the email is important to other people, simply forward to them at the end, rather than them being caught up in a never-ending email trail. Likewise use the BCC button wisely, again forward emails separately rather than ‘hiding’ other recipients.
Do… take your time. Because of the instant nature of emails it is tempting to deal with them immediately, but rushing an email can lead to errors. Deal with them promptly but don’t panic and reply in haste and always check what you have written before you hit send.
Don’t… over use ‘importance’. Before you even consider using a red exclamation mark, ask yourself is this really important? Only use when it is vital that the email is read, otherwise you are drawing unnecessary attention to yourself and it is a quick way of irritating recipients.
Do…save the kisses. Over familiarity towards your boss or work colleagues is bad etiquette, keep the love and kisses for very good friends.
Don’t… email when angry. If you receive a ‘harsh’ email, read it through, then close it and walk away. Consider your response and if necessary ask someone else to read your reply before you send it, don’t fight fire with fire.
Do… choose a sensible email address. Common sense tells you that you are less likely to land a job if you use a frivolous email address, such as, firstname.lastname@example.org. Think about what your email address says about you as it’s an insight into your personality.
Don’t… hide behind email. It is often easier to write something in words than it is to say it out loud, but don’t say something on email that you wouldn’t say in person. Emails have longevity and it can come back to haunt you!
Andrew – Yahoo! Mail Team