Email Etiquette IIWritten by Kathie M. Thomas
This month I'll share on Email Etiquette in discussion groups. For those who are not yet aware, on Internet there are hundreds of thousands of discussion groups available in any topic imaginable. The most popular group systems used are YahooGroups.com, Topica.com and SmartGroups.com but there are others. Some web owners set up their own private groups too, via their website.
The idea behind these groups is that someone starts up or moderates a topic and people become members (at no cost) if they are interested. Some of these groups have closed memberships, i.e. you have to be involved in whatever that group is about and outsiders cannot join, whilst other groups are open to all and sundry.
With whole world being open to membership for these groups cultural differences need to be considered and it is possible to easily upset a member and suddenly you have a heated argument with many others getting involved and original meaning and context completely shoved aside! I've seen this happen in groups and it's a shame, as it often just takes a little thought and consideration to realise that perhaps writer didn't fully understand language, or hadn't actually meant what may have sounded rather rude. There have been times when someone has written something I thought was offensive or wrong and rather than emailing back to list via group email address, I have chosen to email writer direct instead. A much better way to handle a misunderstanding.
A good rule when handling/writing email for group discussions - read through it first and then check which address it is going to, before clicking 'Send'.
The suggestion last month about using signature blocks really applies in this situation - how will people know who you are, or where you come from if you only sign off as 'Kathie'?
Email Etiquette IWritten by Kathie M. Thomas
It is important to consider that when emailing people you are on show, whether you like it or not, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is one of my ‘pet’ subjects on which I speak when giving a public presentation about Internet. I am constantly amazed at number of people who have never thought about it, including secretaries, but once it’s mentioned they say ‘oh, yes, I hadn’t thought about that!’ Let’s face it – many people use email at work AND at home – but who they are does not change.
It is best to type messages in full, and do not use phonetic spelling or lots of abbreviated words and half sentences. I know it is common practice on chat programs to shortcut process, but email is quite different, and these days, generally accepted almost same as a written letter. The reason not to type email in shortcut form is that it can become habit-forming and not something you would want to promote to prospective clients, bosses or other business associates. It is important to remember that your 'professionalism' is on show 24 hours a day via email - a small point, but important.
Another thing – develop a signature block and let people know who you are and what you do! I have it set as an automatic feature whenever emailing, or replying to email, and sometimes forget to delete it when emailing my parents or other family members – but that doesn’t really matter. The thing to remember is that anyone is a potential business associate and letting them know who you are and what you do helps promote your business or your industry. It is a business card that is on show all time.