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Email Etiquette:

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Email Etiquette: Keeping Your Foot Out of Your Virtual Mouth * D. Dumain. Write to the Top: Writing for Corporate Success (rev. ed.) New York: Random House, 2004. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Email Etiquette:


1
Email Etiquette
  • Keeping Your Foot Out of Your Virtual Mouth

2
How is it spelled?
  • email
  • Email
  • eMail
  • EMail
  • e-mail
  • E-mail
  • e-Mail
  • E-Mail

3
How is it spelled?
  • Gregg, Microsoft, and AP e-mail
  • Wired email
  • Email Experience Council email is standard

4
Email etiquette is evolving too
  • E-mail has quickly become a communication
    standard and the Internets most popular
    application. Both the number of e-mail users and
    the usage rates are continuing to grow
    exponentially.
  • Mischelle Davis, V.P. of marketing communications
    at NewWorldIQ

5
Where are we now?
  • Right now online writing is pretty muchin its
    Wild West stage, a free- for-all with
    everybody shooting from the hip and nosheriff
    in sight.
  • OConner Kellerman (2002)

6
If you were sheriff
  • What would be your rules?

Madlantern Arts
7
What makes email different?
8
Difference No nonverbal cues
  • No nonverbal cues, which account for
    ___________ percent of message

9
Nonverbal cues
  • No nonverbal cues, which account for 65 - 93
    percent of message
  • Only words and -)

10
Difference Tone
  • No nonverbal cues
  • Tone becomes crucial

11
Difference Tone
  • No nonverbal cues
  • Tone becomes crucial
  • In Germany and Britain, 23 percent and 14
    percent respectively of respondents to a
    Daily Mail survey admitted confrontations with
    colleagues because of e-mail
    misunderstandings.

12
Criticisms are harsher
  • Messages meant to express mild displeasure
    can come across as tirades.
  • Louise Dobson, Avoiding Email Catastrophes (2006)

13
Tone Example One
To Female employees From H. Honcho Re
Dress code Date 1 July 2006 Clients will be
visiting next week. Halter tops and jeans will
not make the right impression. Its time you
started dressing for the office instead of the
beach. Leave your flip-flops at home!
14
Tone Example Two
To All staff From H. Honcho Re Reminder
about what to wear to work Date 1 July
2006 During the summer, our dress code is
business casual. We think business casual means
clothes that feel comfortable and look
professional. Men Women khaki pants
casual pants and skirts leather shoes leather
or fabric shoes
15
Tips Tone
  • Avoid terseness, which can be misinterpreted
  • Use face-to-face communication if issue is
    sensitive
  • Read your emails aloud, looking for ambiguity

16
For want of a smiley?
  • Rob Glaser asked to meet with Bill Gates
  • Gates said no, in a cold and flip email
  • Glazer denounced Microsoft at anti-trust hearings

17
Difference Humor
  • Humor is riskier

18
Humor Riskier
  • Nearly a quarter of employees have suffered
    problems with colleagues or clients because their
    use of humor in an email has not been understood
    or appreciated, according to a survey.
  • Robert Jacques, Email Jokes Backfire
    for UK Workers (2004)

19
Humor Often misinterpreted
  • Participants in recent studies were able to
    accurately communicate humor and sarcasm in
    ________ percent of the emails they sent.
  • Louise Dobson (2006)

20
Humor Often misinterpreted
  • Participants in recent studies were able to
    accurately communicate humor and sarcasm in
    barely half --
  • 56 percent -- of the emails they sent.
  • Louise Dobson (2006)

21
Tips Humor
  • If in doubt, dont send it.Chevron was forced to
    pay 2.2 millionto settle a harassment case
    based in part on emails with such subjects as
    Why beer is better than women.
  • Reread for ambiguities.
  • Signal the joke.One emoticon or ltgringt per email
    is plenty.

22
Humor Tips in action
  • If you ignore these rules, the great list guru
    will expel you into the gloomy dimension without
    email and your days will be long and lonely after
    you have made a permanent impression in print for
    many to keep and repeat forever ltgringt (see how
    the use of email "emoticons" aids the
    assimilation of that last paragraph!).
  • Bonnie Dalzell, Welcome Message

23
Difference Levels of formality
  • Most people view email as
  • more formal than a phone call
  • less formal than a letter

24
Meeting request Informal
  • From Bob Anderson ltanderson_at_rand-unixgt
  • Date 21 Dec 84 114012 PST (Fri)
  • To randvax!anderson, randvax!gillogly,
    randvax!norm
  • Subject meeting ...
  • we need to setup a meeting bet. jim you and i
    -- can you arange?
  • i'm free next wed. thks.

25
Meeting agenda Formal
  • Subject MEETING ON FY86 PLANNING, 2PM
    12/28/84, CONFERENCE ROOM 1
  • There will be a meeting of the FY86 planning
    task force in Conference Room 1 on December 28,
    1984 at 2pm. The Agenda for the meeting is
  • --------------------------------------- Topic
    Presenter Time
  • ---------------------------------------
    Strategic Business Plan John Fowles
    30 min.
  • Budget Forecast for FY86 Sue Martin
    15 "
  • New Product Announcements Peter Wilson
    20 "
  • Action Items for 1st Qtr FY86 Jane Adamson
    25 "
  • ----------------------------------------------
    -------------

26
Tip Spelling still counts
  • This is an actual email.
  • Purposal
  • I can beat almost anyones price and almost
    promise you success and if I dont reach it, we
    wont charge you after the time we say we can
    achieve it until we do.

27
Tip Spelling still counts
  • Sloppiness is one of seven deadly e-mail sins
  • Bad grammar, misspelling and disconnected
    arguments gave 81 percent of the survey sample
    "negative feelings" towards the senders.
  • 41 percent of senior managers said badly worded
    e-mails implied laziness and even disrespect.
  • CNN.com

28
Tip Level of Formality
  • When in doubt, err on the side of formality.

29
Tip Level of Formality
  • When in doubt, err on the side of formality.
  • Usually the problem is that we treate-mail
    too much like a phone calland not enough like a
    letter.
  • OConner and Kellerman (2002)

30
Tip Level of Formality
  • When in doubt, err on the side of formality.
  • 16 of email users under 25 sign every message
    with love and kisses, even when addressing their
    boss
  • MSN survey

31
Tip Level of Formality
  • Be conversational.
  • An overly formal e-mail messagealienates the
    reader. Dont adopt acold, remote, or superior
    tone in an attempt to sound professional.
  • Angell and Heslop (2002)

32
Difference Level of Formality
  • Questions to which answers are evolving
  • Do I need a subject line?
  • Should I email a thank-you noteafter a job
    interview?
  • Should I communicate bad newsvia email?

33
Difference Electronic
  • Hit Send and its gone
  • Hit Reply All and your career may be gone
  • Deleted emails live on
  • Messages can be forwardedwithout your knowledge
    or consent

34
Tip What not to do
  • One of the officers convicted of beating Rodney
    King sent this email
  • Oops. I havent beaten anyone so bad in a long
    time.
  • A transcript of the message was used at his
    trial.

35
Tip Electronic
  • Colonel David Russells rule
  • Never say anything in an electronic message
    that you wouldn't want appearing, and
    attributed to you, in tomorrow mornings
    front-page headline in the New York Times.

36
Tip Email is never private
  • Pillsbury assured employees that emails were
    private.
  • Michael Smyth was fired after sending an email
    calling his bosses backstabbing bastards.
  • A court held that he had no reasonable
    expectation of privacy.

37
Tip Keep confidences
  • To cope with many questions about vacation
    policy, an HR minion emailed a copy to all
    employees.
  • Attached was salary information.
  • Within weeks, 20 of the workforce was
    goneincluding the hapless minion.

38
Tip Electronic ? Instant
  • Many expect a phone call to alert themto an
    email labeled Urgent.
  • Allow a reasonable time (two days week)for a
    response.
  • Respond before senders have to follow upor
    business is delayed.

39
When would you use email?
  • To send confidential salary information
  • To address a personal hygiene issue
  • To get an immediate reply
  • To settle a conflict between two team members
  • To request a manual for the new phone system
  • To recap a conversation about a pending order
  • To set up a meeting next month
  • To keep people updated on a projects status

40
When would you use email?
  • To send confidential salary information
  • To address a personal hygiene issue
  • To get an immediate reply
  • To settle a conflict between two team members
  • To request a manual for the new phone system
  • To recap a conversation about a pending order
  • To set up a meeting next month
  • To keep people updated on a projects status

41
Difference Wheres audience?
  • People who wouldn't dream of burping at the end
    of dinner post offensive messages to
    international forums.
  • Middle managers inadvertently send romantic email
    messages to the company-wide email alias.
  • People at computer terminals forget that there
    are real live people on the other end of the
    wire.
  • Virginia Shea, Netiquette (1994)

42
Three manners mavens Shea
  • Virginia Shea is Miss Mannersof the Net
  • Pioneered netiquettein 1994
  • Book available online athttp//www.albion.com/ca
    tNetiquette.html

43
Three manners mavens Shea
  • Typing in all capitals in electronic
    communications means
  • Nothing special--typing in all caps is normal.
  • You are shouting.
  • Its OK to forward this message to others.
  • This message is very important.

44
Three manners mavens Shea
  • Typing in all capitals in electronic
    communications means
  • You are shouting.
  • Typing in all capitals in online communications
    is the equivalent of SHOUTING! Only type in all
    capsif you really mean to shout.

45
Three mavens Booher
  • CommunicationsconsultantDianna Booher is Miss
    Mannersof memos
  • Good tips for writers
  • Blog available online athttp//www.amazon.com/

46
Three mavens Kallos
  • Judith Kallos is Miss eManners
  • Best source for specific adviceon business
    emailetiquette
  • SiteNetManners.com

47
Style mavens OConner
  • Emails very structure encourages curtness.
  • The blank subject line staring you in the face
    is a signal to state your business and get on
    with it.
  • The To and From fields seem to make salutations
    and signatures redundant or unnecessary.
  • What we have here is the ideal breeding ground
    for rudeness.

48
Anatomy of email To
To My Entire Address Book From H.
Honcho Re Nothing important Date 1
July,2006
49
Anatomy of email To
To You mad mustachio purple-hued
maltworm Bcc Henry IV, part 1 From I. Rate Re
So-called service at your crummy excuse
for a store today
50
Tip Use BCC wisely
  • To keep addresses private, put your own
    address in the To line and paste your
    mailing list in the cc line
  • BCCs within an organization can create
    distrust

51
Tip Leave address blank
  • If youre furious and must answer an email
    right away, leave the address line blank.
  • If you hit Send before youve had a chance
    to cool down, the email wont go through.

52
Anatomy of email From
  • Would you open mail from
  • Vampyra_at_Goths_R_Us.net
  • Boogers2007_at_hotmail.com
  • Dunno dunno_at_yahoo.com

53
Anatomy of email From
  • E-mail recipients put more weight on who the
    e-mail is from than any other item when choosing
  • which e-mails to open
  • which to delete
  • which to complain about
  • Chris Baggot, ExactTarget

54
Anatomy of email From
Be complete and be recognized. Kathy Towner, WIN
Communications
55
Anatomy of an email Subject
  • Your subject can answer any of readers four
    key questions
  • Whats this about?
  • Why should I read this?
  • Whats in this for me?
  • What am I being asked to do?

56
Anatomy of email Subject
To Girrrl friends From Ima Ditz Re
Change of plans
57
Anatomy of email Subject
To Sara Bellum From Gray Matter Re
Marketing meeting rescheduled for 12/15/06
58
Anatomy of email Subject
To Sara Bellum From Gray Matter Re
Marketing meeting rescheduled for
12/15/06 (EOM)
EOM end of message
59
Tips Subject
  • Lead with the main idea Browsers may not
    display more than first 25-35 characters
  • Create single-subject messages
  • Keep track of threads Subject New Years
    Party Plans (was New Year-End Bonus
    Structure)

60
More Tips Subject
  • Double-check the address line before sending.
  • Insulted by a general email from the boss, an
    employee sent an angry comment to a colleague
    (she thought) Does she think were stupid?
  • The reply (from her boss) Yes, I do.

61
Anatomy of an email Body
  • Before you type anything into a new message, have
    explicit answers for two questions
  • 1. Why am I writing this?
  • 2. What exactly do I want the result of this
    message to be?
  • 43 Folders (2005)

62
Anatomy of an email Body
  • Before you hit Send, review and delete
  • Negative comments about management
  • Criticisms of staff or performance issues
  • Bonuses or salary issues
  • Product or liability issues
  • Gossip
  • Humor or other ambiguities
  • Booher

63
Anatomy of email Body
  • Write so emails are easy to read
  • Make paragraphs 7-8 lines
  • Insert a blank line between paragraphs
  • Use headlines, bullets, and numbers
  • AVOID ALL CAPS THATS SHOUTING
  • If a message is longer than 3 screens, send
    an attachment

64
Anatomy of email Body
Subject Noise level in the break rooms How can
we satisfy everyone? Many of you have told me
about the growing tension you feel around using
the break rooms. Some of you use them to work and
socialize others need a quiet place to
work. Your ideas are welcome What do you think we
can do about this? Should we designate one room
as a lounge and another as a quiet area?
D.
Dumaine, Write to the Top
65
Tip Balance formal/informal
  • Like our work clothes, the preferred writing
    style has become business casual.
  • Avoid extremes
  • Not too pompous
  • Not too passive
  • Not too careless or flip
  • Diana Booher

66
Tip Avoid brusqueness
  • Brief is good. Blunt is not.
  • Question Should I pursue an advanced degree?
  • Response 1 No.
  • Response 2 I dont think an advanced degree
    would have any effect on your potential for
    promotion here.
  • Diana Booher

67
Tip Write business casual
  • Strive for a style somewhere between
    stuffed-shirt and t-shirt.
  • Diana Booher

68
Question Do I need a greeting?
  • Consensus Yes.Otherwise, you can seem brusque
    or unfriendly.

69
Question Which greeting?
  • Opinion Divided
  • Some say Hi, Steve, is too informal.
  • Some say To whom it may concern is stilted.
  • For external communication, use same greeting as
    in letter
  • For internal communication, some use Myra

70
Question Which closing?
  • Consensus
  • Match greeting in tone
  • Formal Sincerely, Best regards, Cordially
  • Informal Thanks All the best, Talk to you
    later
  • Use a sig line that gives your name, title, and
    contact information
  • Omit a P.S. (if the email is longer than a
    screen,a postscript could be missed)

71
Question Email thank-you?
  • 36 percent of employers on Monster prefer
    thank-you notes sent by email
  • 29 percent prefer traditional letters

72
Why netiquette?
  • The electronic equivalent of a set of fussy
    rules that tell you which fork to use with the
    salad course?
  • Netiquette does not consist of a set of rigid
    rules.
  • It encourages you to adopt a certain attitude of
    thoughtfulness.
  • Gregg Reference Manual, 10th ed.

73
Suggested resources
  • Available at http//word-crafter.net/email.html
  • Articles
  • Best practices for email marketing
  • Grammar help
  • Test your netiquette
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