We’re young, we’re carefree – we text and IM and to us, email is rather blasé. You and I know that email takes too long most of the time and is boring compared to the kinds of conversations you can have during chat or texting, but it is important to know how to email properly. Why? Because the important people still use it. By important I mean the people that will give you grades, let you into colleges
someday and (most importantly) give you a job.
Knowing that, do you know the rules of email? Are you accidentally offending the recipients of your emails by SHOUTING AT THEM? Or driving them nuts by using pale font colors on pale backgrounds? Emailing friends is one thing, but emailing anyone other than your BFF requires a bit of email etiquette.
Be polite. Your first step is to be sure you use correct and polite language. Please and thank you are mandatory, and so are Mrs., Mr. or any other title that your recipient has. Emailing a teacher with “Hey, what’s up!” is probably not in your best interest.
No shouting. Keep your fingers away from the Caps Lock key. There is no need for all caps anytime, really, but certainly not when you’re emailing someone outside your close circle of friends. Keep the emotions light – they don’t need your drama.Keep effects minimal.
You’ll also want to keep your visual effects (meaning emoticons, blinkies, pictures, etc…) few and far between. It’s perfectly okay to have none at all. In fact, the more formal your email, the fewer effects you should have. Your future boss has no interest in adorable flashing frogs or such.Stick to proper form.
I know it hurts, but that stuff your English teacher taught you needs to be applied here. Use capital letters, periods, and all that other good sentence structure. You don’t need the date on your email, but you should include a greeting (Dear Mrs. Smith), the body of your email, and then a closing (Thanks, Me) with your sentences in between looking like something your teacher would be proud of. Use short paragraphs.
Because emails are read on computer screens, you want to avoid long rambling paragraphs, or –worse- no paragraphs at all. Short bursts of information are much easier to follow, so keep your sentences and paragraphs short. Break up the message and try to keep all the extra rambling out of the email. Save it for a later conversation.
Use a normal font. I know you’re extra special, but keep your fonts rather boring. It’s not a reflection on your taste and style when you use yellow on a white background or white on black, it’s just hard on the reader’s eyes. Go with a typical black font on a white or light colored background. Keep your font size above 10, preferable 12, so that nobody goes blind during the reading of your email.