It takes practice and thoughtfulness to improve Netiquette (email etiquette). Because email offers the least amount of personal interaction, every single aspect of the email can have an effect on how both sender and receiver perceive each other. Here are 6 email best practices to maximize the optimal goal of having your email opened, read and responded to…
1) Make sure the address fields are populated with proper names and that they are grammatically correct.
2) Provide an accurate subject line which clearly states the email content.
3) Stay on message and use only one or two sentences for introductions and niceties.
4) Keep formats clear and consistent. Avoid unnecessary embellishments.
5) Avoid boilerplate, particularly when this will result in font size or color changes.
6) Avoid “torpedo” words which are clichéd or indicate a laziness in writing. A sampling of these unfortunate word choices is listed below.
When authoring an email, the writer depends on many Netiquette items to assure that their intended content is clear, factual and easily understood. If the email recipient is not someone the sender knows, then tone and accuracy are essential to insure that both the message and any attachments are read. Often, a poorly written and Netiquette lacking email, will preclude the reader from opening any attachment or even future messages from the sender.
The consequences such a scenario can bring is that resumes, contracts, proposals, invoices or any of a number of important documents will not even be read. The following represent potential “torpedo” words or short phrases which can change the entire content of a message. These should be excluded from anyone’s Netiquette practice.
|Truth of the matter||With all due respect (condescending)||I single handedly|
|Quite frankly||Bring it on (arrogant)||Hit the ground running|
|Take it the next level||Works for me (trite and clichéd)||If you will|
|The thing is||You know (weak)||Seriously|
|As it were||I am not going to lie (to you) (implies lack of truth)||Team player|
|At the end of the day||And so forth… (a crutch)||Natural leader|
|And so forth||All intents and purposes, worse yet “all intends and purposes”||Quick learner|
|To be perfectly honest||Results oriented (weak and overused)||That type of thing|
|With all due respect||Transferrable skills (implies a lack of capabilities)||Totally|
|Mark my words||Job duties far exceeded… (an overgeneralization)|
- past – remembrances
- basic – fundamentals
- true – facts
- honest – truth
- terrible – tragedy
- final – outcome
- unexpected – surprise
- past – history
- future – plans
- boundary – line
Another pratfall to avoid in email communications is mistakenly using redundant words on a regular basis. Unlike spelling and grammar checks, there are few products or tools that flag these occurrences. If you practice diligence in avoiding these, your clarity and messaging will improve.
All of these should be watched as part of one’s Netiquette. If an email sender can avoid these torpedo words, their email will be instantly and perceptively improved. When competing for a job, contract or almost anything else, omitting these words and others similar to them, will at times make all the difference. Because each and every email is limited in scope and human contact, the avoidance of even the slightest mistake is a must.
Keep and utilize writing tools, such as dictionaries, a thesaurus or other books at hand to assist you in finding just the right Netiquette word or phrase to use. Once the practice of Netiquette usage becomes more natural, a discernible improvement will come about.
How do you work good Netiquette practices into your emails? Have any tips to share from your experience with torpedo words or redundant pairs? Comment, and join the conversation!