These days a lot of things are just a click away, your credit card payment, money transfer, a movie download, gifts to loved ones, some porn 🙂 and even some bad manners.
Remember how we spent all those classes in school learning how to write business letters? And remember how we struggled to memorize the letter format of from, to, date, dear sir, subject, body, salutation, name and designation? And no matter how well we learnt the formal letter format, our hands still trembled when it came to writing real letters to Principals, Teachers or job applications.
We were still confused – “do ‘from and date’ go to the right?” “Should I include ref: after subject?” “Should the subject be underlined?” “Does the salutation at the end come to the right or left?” “Do I say thanks or regards or thanks and regards?” “Are all these formats just fancy stuff they teach in school or do we really have to follow them?”
But we took them pretty seriously. For me, the worry of losing marks in an exam paid off in real life situations as I always had this habit of referring back to my textbooks before I wrote a formal letter, just to make sure!
I guess things changed quite a lot as we got introduced to the Internet and emails. With all the smileys, font colors and sizes, bolds and underlines, the letter writing act became a lot lighter, ‘kooler’! J Making spelling mistakes became a part of the style and lingo. Using ‘…’ instead of commas or semi colons became the in-thing.
No doubt emails are known for their speed, reliability and versatility, but are we forgetting that it is just a modern version of letter writing? Don’t we realize that formal letter writing is still needed for impressive business communication?
From what I see at work, not many companies are training their staff on email etiquette. Sometimes we fail to understand that what we communicate is a reflection of our feelings, and expressing everything we feel is not exactly the best way to do business. Because written communication is a risky affair; we are not sure if the receiver reads our bit the way we want him to. And emails and all the options that come with it, makes the process all the more tricky!
I know, we cannot be perfect, but we sure can learn a great deal from keeping note of the certain things that annoy us in emails we receive and the certain things we learn from annoyed receivers of our mails!
These are my top 7 annoying factors in a work mail –
1) Using capital letters in messages
2) Using red color fonts
3) Using multi-colored fonts
4) Adding “…..” as fillers
5) Very long subject sentences
6) Using too many abbreviations
7) Using high priority all the time
Even Scott Adams has put a good spin on email communications thru Dilbert. Check this out –
I know business schools lay stress on communication which involves emailing but I am not too sure if our high schools have updated this as a part of their written communication lessons. I think they should. Emailing has become such a common communication tool even for school goers that learning the Netiquette at an early age can help strengthen the basics to a great extent.
Here are a few references I found useful –
So next time you hit the send button, pause for a moment and imagine yourself as the recipient. If you don’t get put off by it, chances are others wouldn’t either! Happy emailing!