Email Etiquette

Matt DiGiovanni

As the editor-in-chief of The Charger Bulletin, I receive a lot of emails every day, some from students, some from potential advertisers, and then a whole mess of press releases. I don’t mind the quantity really; it’s easy enough to sort through the riff raff. However, what drives me completely insane are emails sent with no thought at all. Is it really that tricky to read through and proofread a handful of lines of text? I’m going to compose a brief list of do’s and don’ts to consider when writing emails.

DO:

-Use pleasantries. Who doesn’t want to get a nice good morning, hello, hi, hey, or yo at the beginning of an email?

-Write in complete sentences. You know what’s frustrating? Not being able to read a single clear coherent thought because there are fragments up the wazoo in an email.

-Use punctuation. I know that in this day and age, it’s really easy to just ignore proper punctuation (and capitalization for that matter). But if you’re sending an email to someone other than a personal friend or relative, you should probably be using all your periods, commas, semi-colons, colons, and whatever else you need.

-Sign your name. Sure, if you setup your email right, it will say your name by your email address. But still, it’s nice to know that there’s a real person on the other end writing back to me, who cares enough to sign their name!

DON’T:

-Not respond to an email. Just because you know you received the email doesn’t mean the sender does. It sets my mind at ease when I know that my emails are getting through, because people respond.

-Use obscure acronyms. Just because you know what a certain acronym means, doesn’t mean everyone does. One time, after receiving an email with an unknown acronym, I asked for an explanation. The person responded by ignoring my question and used the acronym again. ARGH!

-Harass for a response. If it’s been less than 24 hours, don’t send a second email asking if I got your email. After a full day has gone by, have at it, but until then, the last thing I want is eight more emails asking me the same question.

-Assume anything. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve received an email that is just an attachment or a handful of words. I don’t know what you want if you don’t tell me! Sure, I could guess, but what if I guess wrong? Then you’re out of luck.

Here’s one last tip; if you are sending an email from a phone, that does give you a little bit of leeway. I wouldn’t suggest skipping the steps above, but you can be much briefer, especially if your signature says that it was sent from a phone.

Don’t be a jerk and ignore these tips when you send emails, particularly to me. Poorly written emails make me cranky.