Thursday, October 28, 2010

Proper E-mail Etiquette

Song of the Day: Can't Take It by All American Rejects

    Hello All! As writers we are probably sending emails all the time. I'm sure we all send at least one email a day, whether we're querying an agent, sending an email for our "day job," or just sending an email to a friend. Yesterday I received a couple emails at the "day job" that I thought were very rude, so I thought this would be the perfect time to blog about proper e-mail etiquette (I usually do "Literary Magazine Limelight" but I was so fired up yesterday, that my voice needs to be heard today on this subject matter). Here are the basics for for constructing a business email.

1. Address the Recipient in the Email

     That means, "Dear Mr., Ms., Dr., etc. You can also change that to a company name or address a group as a whole. You should also end with a proper signature. For example:

Racquel Henry, Editor
The Black Fox Literary Review
1122 Black Fox Blvd.
Fox, FL. 33221
Phone: (123) 456-7891

2. Content

    Slang, nudity, sarcasm, jokes, degradation of an individual or group, and profanity are all things that should not be in a business email. Content should also be short and to the point. Stick to the facts.

3. Subject

    Always put an appropriate title in the subject line, so the recipient can identify exactly what the email is about.

4. Grammar

   You should always use the spell check then proof read your emails for grammatical errors, or anything the spell check wouldn't be able to pick up on.

5. Tone

    Be very careful with this one. You know how we read a piece of writing and often try to identify the tone? Same thing here. People will be able to tell if you're being sarcastic, if you're upset, if you're frustrated, etc. I was able to tell that the emails I received were just plain rude. Oh, and don't use all caps, because it implies that you're yelling. Select your words carefully.

    Email is by far one of the fastest ways to communicate. Almost all of us use them in our professional lives. It's easy to fall into the habit of treating them casually. However, when we use emails as a business tool, then we have to treat them accordingly. In any business setting, you must maintain a professional standard, regardless of your position.


  1. This is something my high school students could definitely benefit from. Thanks, Racquel! :-)

  2. sensible suggestions - I wish more would read them ;p

  3. Hmm, I think I need to pass this along to a few people... :)

  4. This is interesting, a lot of people at certain un-named places that I am in contact with could use this list. I think I might just print it out...

  5. I agree, there are times where I become laxed in my email approach so the above served as a reminder.

    Thanks for sharing.