Did you know that there are manners in the email world? Being mannerly in your emails conveys respect, clarity, and helps you to communicate better. So let’s get started:
Don’t use ALL CAPS. It’s generally considered to be “shouting” in email, text messages, etc. Of course, if it’s an exciting event like “IT’S A BOY!” or “I’M ENGAGED!” then “shouting” is appropriate.
Fonts & Colors
Don’t use multiple fonts and colors. The more fonts or colors you use, the harder it is to read. Unless you’re a graphic artist and you know how to properly combine more than a couple fonts or colors in a complementary way, excessive use will distract from your message, it won’t enhance.
Use Proper English
Don’t use texting-type word shortenings. Spell your words out. Can you imagine the Declaration of Independence being written this way: “Whn n th cors of humn evntz it bcoms necsy 4 a peep 2 dis th poltcl bonds whch hv…"? While you may think you’re saving time writing, what you really do is make it harder to read and comprehend your message. Besides, good writing is fast becoming a lost art. The more frequently we use poorly spelled, abbreviated, grammatically incorrect writing on a daily basis, the more we’re going to forget how to truly write.
Be slow to forward “junk” emails to a bunch of people. By junk emails we mean those non-personal ones that share jokes, pictures, touching or humorous stories or news.
Take a moment to consider if your friends life will truly be enhanced or helped by the tidbit of information you’re about to send them. If they live a busy life, they may appreciate you spared them from seeing yet another forwarded email from you.
Along this vein, be wary as well that you could be spreading false information or viruses. There are many email scams going around. “XYZ political leader is about to sign a bill to change the National Anthem,” or “I made $80,000 working from home.” Remember as well that even having a photo “proving” the information means very little. Photography has been manipulated since it’s inception and it’s relatively easy to do. Perhaps you think you’re being helpful to share all this “vital info” with your friends, but it’s not helpful if the information is false, in which case you’re helping the “bad guys.”
If you’re the recipient of a constant stream of unwanted emails from a friend or relative, there are several ways to deal with this. First, it’s usually best to be tactful, but up front that you’d prefer to be sent fewer emails of that nature. But if that doesn't work, you can create a filter to conveniently send all those emails directly into a folder that skips your inbox.
In the event of cyber miscommunication where you might have an upset friend, it’s best to put email aside and give them a call or visit in person. Tone is so easily misconstrued when it’s in print.
Most email providers place limits on the size of email messages. When you want to send pictures you might need to re-size them first. Windows 7 and 8 can do this if you use an email program like Outlook or Windows Mail. Select the picture or pictures you want to send, click on the Share tab, then Email. A window will open where you can choose what size to use. Click Attach and the pictures will be placed in a new message. If you use an online service such as Gmail, simply drag the photo onto the message and click on the size you want.
Finally, when communicating with a special friend or loved one, consider the value of a good, old-fashioned, hand-written note. There’s something to be said for communicating via letters and cards. They are always in style and show that you care enough about the person to spend your valuable time in writing to them.
This article is the third and final installment in a series about email. Here are parts one and two.
Do you have a question or topic you’d like us to address? Email and let us know!