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Introduction to Email

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Email as a medium of communication has become an indispensable tool for communication. In general people have a feel for what is appropriate and not, however, others sadly lack decorum in emails.

Academic staff, lecturers (and people generally) don't deliberately penalise people who inflict poor email manners on them, it is a good idea not to offend or cause discomfort in the recipient unless you deliberately intend to do so.

While a conversation with an individual includes non-verbal clues facial expression, tone that can help communicate your message, this is absent from an email apart from the insertion of emoticons which can be easily misinterpteted. A student may approach a lecturer after class, the student stands back and waits until the lecturer is ready to communicate, smiles and says in a pleasant tone:
���. The Professor realises the student is concerned about missing the class and gives her brief summary notes of the class. In an email a student writes, ��� Sorry I will not be in class tomorrow, I have to go to an interview�۝. The professor gets no sense whether the student is just making an excuse or is genuinely concerned to be missing.

How could you convey the correct sentiment in an email:

There are no 'official' rules governing electronic communication, there is no one right way, but as a general rule it involves the same principles as simple etiquette -- basic courtesy, respect, decorum, and ethics.

By following the principles outlined below, the recipient of your email will be more likely to read and act, if not be favourably impressed by your message:

These are guidelines and none are set in stone.

Remember your emails represent the kind of person you are: think about how they represent you as :

respectful, professional, sociable, gracious, cooperative, accommodating, gregarious, appreciative, kind, refreshing, sincere, warm or severe, dictating, bothersome, abrupt, cold, peremptory, arrogant, disputatious, cynical, insensitive or unpleasant.

The most useful advice might be to think and reflect on your statements before you press the send button.