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Summary Here are some quick tips for good email style:

Provide your reader with the right information and writing approach:

Quote the email to which you are responding (you can set this up on your email program) Avoid the use of them, they (use I, we and specific names)

Make your page easy to read. se:


!hort paragraphs "ines under #$ words %mail under twenty&five lines

'ind different ways to e(press emotion, )ody language, and intonation. se:

!mileys Asterisks *apital letters "ower&case letters *reative punctuation +yped&out thoughts and reactions ,hitespace

Why Is Email Different than Regular Mail?


%mail is more conversational than traditional letters. -ecause, if its speed electronic communication is also shorter )ecause people can .uickly answer any .uestions the receiver of the email might have. /n a regular letter it is important to make everything completely clear )ecause your reader may not have a change to ask for clarification. Although you should always try to spell words correctly (as this helps communicate your message), it is not necessary to make sure your grammar is perfect. 0on1t slave for hours if all you want to say is, 2/1ll meet you at the movie theatre.2

-ecause email is not face&to&face, the receiver of your email may have difficulty telling if you are serious or kidding, happy or sad. -e warned that using sarcasm can )e very dangerous as it is difficult to understand without )ody language or tone of voice. %ssentially, email tries to com)ine aspects of informal speech, formal written communication, and new ways of showing emotions and )ody language.

Writing pproach
Always .uote your replies, unless you are sure the receiver of your email knows e(actly what you are talking a)out.

0o not send email that says simply says 2yes2 to some mysterious .uestion. /nclude the .uestion, or say, 23es, / can meet you at the airport.2 Always provide your reader with enough information. A good rule of thum) is to look very carefully at all pronouns in your first three sentences. /f they don1t refer to something e(plicitly stated in the email, change them to something concrete. 'or e(ample, at the start of your email. Don't say: 2+hey asked me if / could go with them, )ut she wouldn1t let me.2 Say: 2My office friends asked me if / could go with them, )ut my wife wouldn1t let me.2

,hen answering .uestions, you don1t need to include the entire .uestion. Quote the most important part of the .uestion. /nstead of .uoting: 4 / was thinking a)out taking a trip at the end of the month after / finish the term, would you )e interested in going to 5uam62 Quote: 4A)out 5uam trip6 !ure, sounds like a good idea. -ut /1ll have to check with my parents a)out finances.

!age "ayout
sually people find it hard to read words on a computer screen than on paper. +he font may )e too small. +he screen may flicker. +he screen is not as sharp or

as clear as paper. +o make your email easy to read, your page layout should )e a little different.

#se Shorter !aragraphs $ *onsider )reaking up paragraphs to only a few sentences a piece. +hat way readers can easily see new paragraphs as they end and )egin. +hey don1t have to scroll. #se "ess Words $ "ong wordy sentences are not appropriate for most email, especially )usiness email. /f people want more information, they will ask for it. A good rule of thum) is to keep everything on one 2page2 or one 2screen.2 /n most cases this means a)out #7 to thirty lines.

E%pression & Intonation


/n writing, you cannot make your voice louder or softer, higher or lower, to create emphasis or let others know how you feel.

"ight Emphasis $ /f you want to give something light emphasis, enclose it in asterisks. +his is the same as using italics in a paper document. %.g., 2/ feel really 8sad8 to day.2 9r / !ay: / 9r: / said that / was going to )uy it 8'riday8. 8said8 that / was going to )uy it 'riday. said that / was instead going to )uy it of: 'riday.

'apitali(e for Strong Emphasis $ 'or greater emphasis, add some %:*"AMA+/9;<<<< marks. =%3, / > !+ ,A;+%0 +9 ?;9, /' 39 9ooooooh, / "9A% that. @%A""3 "/?% M%..

)or E*+REME Emphasis go Wild $

se 44, <<, and 88 for dramatic affect.

/f you forget my )irthday this, / swear that / will never, 8never8, 8;%A%@8, 44<<88;%A%@88<<BB make you -ulgolgi again (ha ha).

,ther Strategies $ to indicate

se lower case letters ( to indicate a whisper) and . . . anticipation or a sigh:

/ failed my +9%/* again, which 8totally8 sucks . . . / will have to skip 5uam and !+ 03 . . . A===< psssst< hey guess =% P@9P9!%0<<<< :&) :&) << !umi< what6

Emoticons- Smileys- and .ody "anguage


+o make your emails more like a face&to&face conversation, try the following strategies:

#se Smileys /%moticons0 $ 'acial gestures can )e represented with a 2smiley2: an A!*// or te(t drawing of a facial e(pression. +he most common three are: :&) C&) :&( (+o understand these sym)ols, turn your head counter&clockwise and look at them sideways.)

!auses $ /n a face&to&face discussion if you ask someone a complicated .uestion, they might pause a long time, scratch their head, check their watch, or make a face )efore answering. /n email you can create these pauses )y adding whitepace, and 2/1m thinking2 (repeating letters): ,eeeellllll.... ,ell (clears 9kay if you come too< errr hem.... . his )ut 9kay )ut 8only8 . if you come too<

. throat) 9;"3

'reati1e !unctuation & 2Question Marks2 and 2%(clamation Marks2 can )e used to help add e(pression to your emails. +he .uestion mark is kind of shorthand for 2huh62 while the e(clamation mark can )e used to e(press amaDement or even anger. Punctuation can also )e used as a placeholder for swearing e.g., +hat EFEGH. Asterisks can also )e used to represent missing letters e.g., that son of a )8888< 666<6< / don1t understand why you talked to her first instead of 8me8.

+=%@% 39 59< %mail writing I7I. / hope these suggestions have )een 8helpful8 :$0. +ry a few ne(t time you send an email.

Writing Effective E-Mail: Top 10 Tips


1. Write a meaningful subject line.
Recipients scan the subject line in order to decide whether to open, forward, file, or trash a message. Remember -- your message is not the only one in your recipient's mailbox. Subject: "Important! ea! Imme!iatel"!!" hat is important to you may not be important to your reader. Rather than brashly announcing that the secret contents of your message are important, write an informati!e headline that actually communicates at least the core of what you feel is so important: ""mergency: #ll $ars in the %ower %ot ill &e 'owed in ( )our." *+ ha!e my e-mail filter set to trash e-mail messages with more than one exclamation mar, in the subject line. #nyone who shouts at me is being abusi!e, trying to sell me something, or both. ---./0 Subject: "Meeting" 'he purpose of this e-mail might be a routine re1uest for a meeting, an announcement of a last-minute rescheduling, or a summary of something that has already happened. 'here's no way to ,now without opening the message, so this subject line is hardly useful. Subject: "#ollo$-up about Meeting"

2ractionally better -- pro!ided that the recipient recogni3es your name and remembers why a follow-up was necessary. Subject: "%o $e nee! a larger room for meeting ne&t #ri'" 4pon reading this re!ised, informati!e subject line, the recipient immediately starts thin,ing about the si3e of the room, not about whether it will be worth it to open the e-mail. 5y e-mail accounts get do3ens of !irus-bearing jun, mails each day, often bearing a !ague title such as "'hat file you re1uested," or no title at all. 6ou'll get a faster response if your recipient can tell from the subject line that it's a real message from a real person.

(. )eep the message focuse! an! rea!able.


7ften recipients only read partway through a long message, hit "reply" as soon as they ha!e something to contribute, and forget to ,eep reading. 'his is part of human nature. +f your e-mail contains multiple messages that are onl" loosel" relate! , in order to a!oid the ris, that your reader will reply only to the first item that grabs his or her fancy, you could number "our points to ensure they are all read 8adding an introductory line that states how many parts there are to the message9. +f the points are substantial enough, split them up into separate messages so your recipient can delete, respond, file, or forward each item indi!idually. :eep your message readable.

*se stan!ar! capitali+ation an! spelling, especially when your message as,s your recipient to do wor, for you. +f you are a teenager, writing a 1uic, gushing "thx ; ur help <day ur gr=" may ma,e a busy professional smile at your gratitude... but there comes a time when the sweetness of the gesture isn't enough. i dont thin, u want ur prof r ur boss < thin, u cant typ %7% >-9 -.ip lines bet$een paragraphs. /voi! fanc" t"pefaces. -on't depend upon bold font or large si3e to add nuances -- many people's e-mail readers only display plain text. +n a pinch, use asteris,s to show ?emphasis?. %on0t t"pe in all-caps. 7nline, all-caps means shouting. Regardless of your intention, people will react as if you meant to be aggressi!e.

1. /voi! attachments.
@ut your information the the body of your e-mail whene!er possible. #ttachments

are increasingly dangerous carriers of !iruses ta,e time to download ta,e up needless space on your recipient's computer, and don't always translate correctly 8especially for people who might read their e-mail

on portable de!ices9. +nstead of sending a whole word processor file, just cop" an! paste the relevant te&t into the e-mail 8unless of course your recipient actually needs to !iew file in order to edit or archi!e it9. *+'m annoyed when people send bul, e-mails with attached pdf or ord documents that contain nothing more than a few paragraphs of ordinary text. +'d much rather get a plain text message, with a lin, to where + can download the full !ersion if + want to enjoy all the colors and typefaces. Sending a (5& attachment to hundreds or thousands of employees is a huge waste of digital resources. -- -./0

2. I!entif" "ourself clearl".


hen contacting someone cold, always include your name, occupation, and any other important identification information in the first few sentences. +f you are following up on a face-to-face contact, you might appear too timid if you assume your recipient doesn't remember you> but you can drop casual hints to jog their memory: "+ enjoyed tal,ing with you about @-#s in the ele!ator the other day."

3. 4e .in!. %on0t flame.


'o "flame" someone is to write an abusi!e personal attac,. +f you find yourself writing in anger, ta,e a brea,. 'a,e some time to cool off before you hit "send." -on't "flame" without weighing the conse1uences. The 5flame5 is a long-establishe! Internet tra!ition. hen groups of people gather, they signal status by who gets the comfy chairs, who can tal, and who must listen, etc. 7nline communities don't pro!ide these physical signals, so the words you use become e!en more important. 2laming anyone who 8intentionally or otherwise9 threatens the cohesion of the group helps online communities uphol! hierarch", !efine membership, an! forge allegiances. &ut the relationship between boss and employee 8or professor and student9 is not primarily social. &ecause the po$er !ifferential complicates the situation, the rules of eti1uette are stricter. +f you flame "our boss or "our professor, that message will probably surface someday when you're up for promotion or you want a letter of recommendation.

+f you flame an un!erling or stu!ent 8especially in public9, then you damage that person's trust in your leadership, and you probably won't get that person's best wor, in the future. @raise in public, critici3e in pri!ate. +f you want to complain about someone, do it in person or by telephone, so there won't be a permanent record. -- -./

6. 7roofrea!.
+f you are as,ing someone else to do wor, for you, ta,e the time to ma.e "our message loo. professional. hile your spell chec,er won't catch e!ery mista,e, at the !ery least it will catch a few typos. +f you are sending a message that will be read by someone higher up on the chain of command 8a superior or professor, for instance9, or if you're about to mass-mail do3ens or thousands of people, ta,e an extra minute or two before you hit "send". Show a draft to a close associate, in order to see whether it actually ma,es sense.

8. %on0t assume privac".


4nless you are -onald 'rump, praise in public, an! critici+e in private. -on't send anything o!er e-mail that you wouldn't want posted -- with your name attached -- in the brea, room. E-mail is not secure. /ust as random pedestrians could easily reach into your mailbox and intercept the en!elopes that you send and recei!e through the post office, a curious hac,er, a malicious criminal, or the 2&+ can easily intercept your e-mail. +n some companies, the e-mail administrator has the ability to read any and all e-mail messages 8and may fire you if you write anything inappropriate9.

9. %istinguish bet$een formal an! informal situations.


hen you are writing to a friend or a close colleague, it is 7: to use "smilies" :-9 , abbre!iations 8++R$ for "if + recall correctly", %7% for "laughing out loud," etc.9 and nonstandard punctuation and spelling 8li,e that found in instant messaging or chat rooms9. 'hese linguistic shortcuts are generally signs of friendly intimacy, li,e sharing cold pi33a with a family friend. +f you tried to share that same cold pi33a with a first date, or a !isiting dignitary, you would gi!e off the impression that you did not really care about the meeting. &y the same to,en, don't use informal language when your reader expects a more formal approach. #lways ,now the situation, and write accordingly.

:. espon! 7romptl".

+f you want to appear professional and courteous, ma,e yourself a!ailable to your online correspondents. "!en if your reply is, "Sorry, +'m too busy to help you now," at least your correspondent won't be waiting in !ain for your reply.

10. -ho$ espect an! estraint


5any a flame war has been started by someone who hit "reply all" instead of "reply." hile most people ,now that e-mail is not pri!ate, it is good form to as, the sender before forwarding a personal message. +f someone e-mails you a re1uest, it is perfectly acceptable to forward the re1uest to a person who can help -- but forwarding a message in order to ridicule the sender is tac,y. 4se &$$ instead of $$ when sending sensiti!e information to large groups. 82or example, a professor sending a bul, message to students who are in danger of failing, or an employer telling unsuccessful applicants that a position is no longer open.9 'he name of e!eryone in the $$ list goes out with the message, but the names of people on the &$$ list 8"blind carbon copy"9 are hidden. @ut your own name in the "'o" box if your mail editor doesn't li,e the blan, space. &e tolerant of other people's eti1uette blunders. +f you thin, you'!e been insulted, 1uote the line bac, to your sender and add a neutral comment such as, "+'m not sure how to interpret this... could you elaborateA"