E-mail etiquette

You know what really grinds my gears? People who don’t seem to be able to grasp the simple but apparently subtle ways of electronic mail.

The boy who cried wolf
If you send every e-mail with with “Urgent” priority, how can I tell what’s actually urgent? Eventually I’m just going to tune out all of your e-mails. It’s like going to a party and talking over everyone. You’re only going to have people’s attention for so long before you’re shunned.

Punctuate this!

Hey guys……..what do you think about this?????? I think it would be awesome!!!!!!!!

Every time I see something like this I die a little inside.

If you need to put a pause in your sentence, put 3 dots. It’s called an ellipsis.

If you have a question, is one question mark not obvious enough? Is the question so burning that you need to fill my screen with obnoxious characters to the point where they lose all meaning?

I recently heard an interview on the radio with David Shipley, the author of Send: The Essential Guide to Email for Office and Home. He made the point that e-mail can come across as cold, and that throwing in the occasional exclamation mark can give things a more positive tone. I’m with him 100% on this. Consider the following.

Thank you for having us for dinner.

It seems like it’s sincere… probably… I think?

Thank you for having us for dinner!

Wow, he must have really enjoyed it! Dude is totally sincere!

Unfortunately David went on to say that people are equally, if not more receptive to multiple exclamation marks.

Thank you for having us for dinner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you ask me, this comes across as if the sender just had a lobotomy.

No subject
Everything has a subject. If your e-mail is to say hello, then the subject is “Hello”. If the e-mail is about a meeting, then the subject is “Meeting”. If your e-mail has no subject then I also assume it has no content. Delete!

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