How many e-mails did you send today? You probably lost count at some point shortly after lunch. The odds are that you sent over a dozen of these messages to family members, friends, clients and co-workers. Here’s the important question: Were any of these e-mail messages rude? Were any overly brief? Would any one of the messages you sent today make their recipients wonder if they had done something to offend you? Yes, there exists such a thing as e-mail etiquette. Here’s a short primer regarding how to mind your manners while sending e-mail.

Brevity could be off-putting

It’s tempting to answer some e-mail messages, whether from co-workers or friends, with one-word answers: “yes” or “no.” The problem is that such short messages may be off-putting to recipients. They may look at your one-word reply and question if they had done something to bother you. Why else would you be so short with them? To prevent this issue, always add a pleasant sentiment before sending your response. A “Hope you’re having a nice day” header just before your brief answer will make all the difference. And if you’re sending your message from a tablet or smartphone, make sure to have an e-mail signature that explains that’s why your message is so short.

Always answer

When your inbox is clogged, it’s very easy to let some messages languish without a reply. You’re simply short on time. But not responding to an e-mail message from a co-worker, friend or family member is fairly rude. Even if you can’t yet address the actual question in an e-mail message, be sure to send back a simple reply explaining that you’re flooded with other duties but will get to the request soon.

Slow down

CBS News also advises you take the time to proofread your e-mail messages before sending them. It’s tempting to quickly dash off a message and hit “send.” Doing this, can leave you with a message that’s loaded with typos. Worse yet, you could forget to add an important attachment. Don’t rush. It’s polite to make sure that you are sending out a competent e-mail message.

Be polite and do not shout

Whatever you do, never send an e-mail message that is written entirely in capital letters. This is known as shouting, and no one likes it. It’s easy to see why: A message in all caps is hard on the eyes. Instead, keep to the normal rules of capitalization when drafting your e-mail messages.

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