Sending e-mail? Mind your matters

How many e-mails did you send out today? You probably lost count at some point just after lunch. The odds are that you sent more than a dozen of these messages out to family members, friends, clients and co-workers. Here’s the big question: Were any of these e-mail messages rude? Were any overly brief? Would any of the messages you sent today make their recipients ponder whether they had done something to offend you? Yes, there exists such a thing as e-mail etiquette. Here’s a quick primer on how to mind your manners while sending e-mail.

Brevity might be off-putting

When someone receives an e-mail message that simply says “yes” or, even worse, “no,” they may wonder if you’re a lttle bit ticked at them. After all, that’s a very short reply. When sending e-mail messages, then, make sure you add a bit more meat to help make your recipients feel better. Rather than just answering “yes,” you could start to add a, “Thanks for asking” or a “Hope you’re doing well today.” That can make a significant difference. And if your message is brief because you’re typing it on a smartphone or tablet, make a special e-mail signature that conveys to recipients that this is the reason for your short message.

Don’t ignore messages

When your inbox is back logged, it’s easy to let some messages languish without a reply. You’re simply short on time. But not responding to an e-mail message from a co-worker, friend or family member is fairly rude. Even if you can’t yet address the specific question in an e-mail message, be sure to send back a quick reply explaining that you’re flooded with other tasks but will get to the question as quickly as possible.

Slow down

CBS News also recommends that you take time to proofread your e-mail messages prior to sending them. It’s tempting to quickly dash off a message and hit “send.” Doing so, can leave you with a message that’s full of typos. Even worse, you might forget to include a necessary attachment. Don’t rush. It’s respectful to ensure that you are sending out a professional e-mail message.

Be polite and don’t shout

PR firm Ragan highly suggests you keep in mind your basic offline manners when generating e-mail messages. This means including those magic words as part of your messages, “please” and “thank you.” All too often, in the rush of composing and sending e-mails, we forget these niceties. Ragan also warns against shouting in your e-mail messages. To those who don’t know, “shouting” means typing in all capital letters. This looks incredibly annoying on the computer screen.