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People form an idea of what you are like by the way you communicate with them. Regularly ask yourself what impressions are you creating through your email address, language, message style, spelling, signature and the timeliness of your communication.

Email Efficiency ! Create groups or distribution lists to streamline sending ! ! ! ! ! !
emails to friends or colleagues. Use templates for frequent or similar emails. You may wish to ask one question per message as some people forget all but the first or last question. If you are cc'ed or bcc'ed on email conversations, but don't need to be, ask to be removed from their list. Be selective about which email lists you subscribe to, unsubscribe when they’re no longer useful to you. If someone you know sends you messages you don't want (e.g. hoaxes & jokes), politely ask them to stop. Use filters or rules in email programs to prioritise messages (and to remove Spam!).

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Checklist for Sending an Email

Subject Title ! Always include a subject title and avoid vague single

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word subject titles like “Information” or “Hi there”. ! Descriptive and accurate subject titles make filing and retrieval easier. Will you know what the email contains by looking at its title next month? ! When replying, rename titles that do not accurately reflect the current email conversation. Prefix the old title with WAS: to maintain continuity. ! If a message is important include the word IMPORTANT: at the beginning.

]Does the subject title accurately reflect the content? ]Do all recipients really need to receive your email? ]Have you checked your spelling and grammar? ]Will the reader understand any acronyms and ]Have you checked for any unintended double meaning? ]Re-read your email to check it makes sense and ]Have you said anything that you would not say to
emphasises the most important points. someone's face? If you were angry when you wrote the email consider waiting before you send it. abbreviations you have used?

Receiving, Replying & Forwarding Tips ! Let people know how long they should expect to wait for a
response, especially if you do not respond to/check your email daily. ! Delete all SPAM (junk email) before reading new emails. ! Read all new emails before replying to any of them as you may have received new emails indicating a response is no longer needed. ! Give the sender the benefit of the doubt and clarify the tone of an email (via phone or email) before addressing any adverse points. ! Think twice before using Reply to all - ask yourself if everyone needs to be included in the reply. ! Include any additional comments above the original message when forwarding a message. ! Instead of quoting the whole message in your reply select relevant portions and put these on separate lines or within “quotation marks”. ! When clarifying a quoted message enclose your own words in [square brackets/braces]. ! Re-read messages to ensure that you have answered all questions and quote the original questions before your answers.

Composing a Message ! Try to compose short paragraphs that focus on one topic !

! ! ! ! ! !

at a time. If you have questions list these at the end for emphasis. Do not use formatting, especially font sizes, tables and colours, these may not display correctly on another computer. Instead use * asterisks* or /slashes/ or ~other characters~ to emphasise text. Symbols (e.g. ® and accents) do not display on all computers - use alternatives, e.g. (R) not ®. Include the http:// when typing a web site address so, if possible, the recipient can click on the link. Put web links on their own line to avoid the link being 'cut' and consequently not working. Try to leave a blank line between paragraphs and greetings to make messages easier to read. Avoid adding postscripts (P.S.) because people will often fail to read beyond your sign off. Ask yourself “Could this message be misinterpreted?” Emails tend to be brief and to the point, lacking intonation and body language, this places extra emphasis on the content.

Smilies (Emoticons)

These combine letters and keyboard symbols, that are read sideways, to convey emotion, gestures, or expressions. Their use should be restricted to livening up informal communications in otherwise unemotional messages. TIP: Many smilies can be typed without noses to make mini smilies. E.g. :-) changes to :) (:-) big happy face :-) happy :'-) crying with joy :-D laughing ,-} wry and winking ;-) wink. :-7 after a wry statement :-> devilish :-e disappointed :-( sad :-I indifferent :-< very sad :-\ undecided :'-( crying |-O yawning/snoring (:-( frowning :-s after bizarre comment :-o shocked :-x “my lips are sealed" :-t cross :-& tongue-tied :-@ screaming :-p sticking tongue out :-O yelling $-) just won lottery :-X bow tie

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© Fiona & Scott Spence 2003, published by Crazy Colour. Please do NOT photocopy or reproduce, bulk discounts are available. Crazy Colour is a trademark of CC Consulting Ltd.

Terms and Definitions
Files that are sent with emails, these may include the email message itself, a picture or document. ! Don't attach large files (over 1 megabyte) without asking the recipient first. ! Confirm important attachments have arrived, some are stripped from messages for security reasons. ! Mention that you have included an attachment, and why, in your message.

List Moderator Lurker

Person who manages an email list and controls the postings of messages to ensure conformity with the topic. Someone who subscribes to a discussion list but does not post. Tip: Lurking is a good way to familiarise yourself with lists or new discussions.

Netiquette (Internet Etiquette)
Acceptable practice for using Internet resources including email and mailing lists. We suggest you: ! Compose emails carefully as they are a permanent record of your communication that can be forwarded to others. ! Remember to greet your recipient(s) and that your first sentence will set the tone of your entire message. Also sign or close off to ensure that the email is cordial and succinct. ! Don't write in ALL CAPS as this is considered shouting in an email. ! Use an international word based date format, e.g. write 5th December 2003 not 5/12/03 nor 12/5/03. ! Remember that measurements, currency and spellings vary internationally. ! Take into consideration culture and language differences when writing, e.g. colloquial phrases etc. ! Use smilies to emphasise emotion, not to replace emotive text, e.g. write “I am happy :-)” not just “:-)”.

Moderated Discussion List

Mailing list where a list moderator approves all posts.

Mailing List/Discussion List


Blind Carbon Copy, used to copy an email to recipients without the main addressee(s) knowing. Tip: Use BCC when emailing a message to a large number of recipients so that they do not have the inconvenience of receiving a long list of everyone else's email addresses.

A collection of people who have asked to receive regular email discussions on a particular topic, and to which they can submit messages. Tip: Do not email the list directly to unsubscribe, send an email to the automated address that you used to subscribe and include the word "unsubscribe" in the email body (and/or subject line).

Bounced Message Cross-post

A returned email message that can't be delivered. To send identical email messages to several discussion groups or forums.

Email Acronyms/Abbreviations
Used in informal email messages these can speed up writing. Tip: Ensure the recipient also understands their meanings! too late 2L8 as a matter of fact AAMOF as far as I know AFAIK bye for now B4N by the way BTW correct me if I'm wrong CMIIW see you later CUL for what it's worth FWIW in any case IAC in my humble opinion IMHO I know what you mean IKWUM in other words IOW know what I mean KWIM laughing out loud LOL on the other hand OTOH rolling on the floor laughing ROTFL thanks in advance TIA thanks TNX talk to you later TTYL

To add a message to a mailing list, or the message itself.

Digital Signature

This is a digital code that is attached to electronically transmitted data to guarantee the authenticity of the sender, not to be confused with an email Signature (see far right column).

Signature (sig.)
Up to 5 lines of text placed at the end of a message to provide the reader with the author's contact information, favourite quote etc. When composing your signature ask yourself: ! Does it include alternative contact details? ! Is it appropriate and current? If you are making a quick comment, including phone, fax, telex & home numbers may not be necessary. ! Is it appropriate for both personal and work correspondence or should you have alternative signatures for various recipients?

Filters Flame

These identify messages by subject line or sender, e.g. to prevent spam from reaching your inbox. Large group reaction in response to an inappropriate or extreme comment in a discussion group.


The part of an email message that contains information about its delivery details.

To join a mailing list.

Junk Mail (Spam) List Address

Unsolicited bulk email or unsolicited commercial email, considered bad netiquette. An email address used to distribute a message to a group of people.

A series of messages on a particular topic with the same subject line, often in a larger group with many contributors.
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Version em-009 (September 2003)

© Fiona & Scott Spence 2003, published by Crazy Colour. RRP: UK£4.95, ISBN: 1-904782-01-9

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