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The How-to Lounge: E-Mail Etiquette

The digital age has completely taken over and e-mail has become many people's main way of communication. While it is a great way to correspond, it is very easy to misconstrue voice, tone, and implication when you can't look or hear the person on the other end of the message. In this How-to Lounge, I am going to give you some pointers to help avoid misinterpreting e-mails.

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  • Be concise and to the point. You don't want your e-mails to go on too long or else they won't be read. On the flip side, don't be too short or your message could be perceived as rude or impolite
  • If you are returning an e-mail, make sure you answer all the questions being asked, and ask the appropriate questions if need be
  • Always be sure to check your spelling and punctuation. Carelessness is very unprofessional
  • While it is impossible to promptly answer every e-mail, all messages should be returned within 24 hours
  • For business e-mails, address your recipient and sign accordingly
  • Always include the original message in a response. Oftentimes it is crucial to read the entire e-mail chain
  • Be sure to re-read your message before sending and avoid using capital letters as it will translate as yelling
  • Know your audience and avoid using punctuation, web lingo and emoticons to those who will not understand what you are trying to say
  • Do not abuse reply all or blind copying. People are inundated with e-mails, so the least amount of messages they receive, the more inclined they will be to reply in a timely manor
  • Remember that e-mail is never 100% private. While it is fun to flirt, gossip and make plans over e-mail, be aware that your correspondence is considered company property

It's hard to believe we were once, not that long ago, without e-mails, so while they are a terrific way to communicate, make sure not to use your keypad as an excuse to avoid personal contact!


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