Something I Really Detest

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

What is it with the increasing spate of emails going around, drained of any form of etiquette? It's bad enough being bombarded with faceless, bulk emails and spam without receiving emails from people who clearly know who you are and what they want to say, and preface it with... nothing.

No salutation. No name. No introduction. Barely any explanation. No sign-off. Rude rude rude rude rude.* It's the equivalent of a precocious 4-year-old screaming "I want!"

(And on top of that, it's interesting to watch something else slowly disappear - the rarity of a simple 'thank you'. Jesus, I'm sick of the sense of self-entitlement and cluelessnes so many people operate under.)

For goodness sake, who are these 'faceless' people and what are they thinking? Do they really want to get their addressee offside and make them feel like a worthless piece of crap the moment they hit the send button? Are they really that clueless, that 'busy', that self-important, because let me tell you, the senders of emails like this smack of a really ugly self-importance.

Frankly, it astounds me that people risk credibility, amiability and business(!!) with badly constructed emails that do nothing but come across as rude.

With thanks to, here is a little rundown on email etiquette for those who are failing to make the grade - and p*ssing everyone else off in the process. For goodness sake, it doesn't take more than a few seconds to create a warm salutation and to sign off properly (take particular notice of no. 4; please).

1. Be concise and to the point
2. Answer all questions, and pre-empt further questions
3. Use proper spelling, grammar & punctuation
4. Make it personal
5. Use templates for frequently used responses
6. Answer swiftly
7. Do not attach unnecessary files
8. Use proper structure & layout
9. Do not overuse the high priority option
10. Do not write in CAPITALS
11. Don't leave out the message thread
12. Add disclaimers to your emails
13. Read the email before you send it
14. Do not overuse Reply to All
15. Mailings > use the bcc: field or do a mail merge
16. Take care with abbreviations and emoticons
17. Be careful with formatting
18. Take care with rich text and HTML messages
19. Do not forward chain letters
20. Do not request delivery and read receipts
21. Do not ask to recall a message.
22. Do not copy a message or attachment without permission
23. Do not use email to discuss confidential information
24. Use a meaningful subject
25. Use active instead of passive
26. Avoid using URGENT and IMPORTANT
27. Avoid long sentences
28. Don't send or forward emails containing libelous, defamatory, offensive, racist or obscene remarks
29. Don't forward virus hoaxes and chain letters
30. Keep your language gender neutral
31. Don't reply to spam
32. Use cc: field sparingly

*The content of this ranting post does NOT apply to rollicking emails between friends or mid-email-conversation between people who know each other.


Market Girl said...

geeze, glad you added that last line. xxxx
Oh from Julie :)

Susan @ Reading Upside Down said...

Dear Tania,

I'm glad I'm not the only person who struggles with the lack of structure and courtesy in emails. Hopefully I'm not guilty of mistaking convenience with an excuse to forget basic courtesy.

I'm probably guilty of going too far the other way. If character count allows, I still sign-off on text messages with at least my name and I try to fit in at least 'Hi' at the beginning. If I can't, I always feel rude.

I'm off now to check the emails that I've sent to you to make sure that I wrote them properly. :-)

Best wishes,


Tania McCartney said...

You guys are so funny~! Mates don't count!!! Tx (and PS: Susan, I do the same with texts!!)

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