Friday, December 7, 2012

Writing effective and proper emails, utilizing good Netiquette, necessitate an understanding of what type of email one is writing. The following represent several of these. The remainder will be sent in the next blog.

          Every email can be categorized into arguably, at least ten unique types.  All of these share common Netiquette principles.  Additionally, there are unique attributes and particulars which are specific to each category.  As such, insuring proper adherence and optimizing best practices within each mail type insures the best possible results.  There are obvious differences, attributes and nuances for each and these will be discussed in this section.

1)            Personal – Clearly this type of email allows for the greatest flexibility, particularly with immediate family.  Moreover, this type of email tolerates the greatest range of Netiquette interpretation.  Despite allowing for exceptions these should not go so far as to affect and carry over into authoring other more formal and structured compositions.  Remember the rule of “composing emails consistently.”  The composer of personal emails should, at a minimum, keep within the basic rules of Netiquette. In a personal email, the salutation, body, closing and signature can accommodate the most flexibility.


2)           Introductory – This category of email can be a personal, business or solicitation form.  By its very name, the usual common thread is that it is a first time message and might very well be one that is not expected by the recipient.  Therefore, special attention must be given to the subject line and first paragraph in order to a) be opened; b) be read; and c) be effective.


In terms of the subject line, an attention producing or recognizable description is very important, particularly if the sendee has no reason to open the communication from seeing the user’s name, organization or cc receipts.  For example, if the message is referral precipitated, the person should be mentioned in the subject line such as:

        “John Brown suggested I contact you”

        “Our mutual friend John Brown”

If there is not a common thread, a short and pertinent subject title is very important.

        The first paragraph of an introductory message should get straight to the issue.  If there is a referral, the party should be mentioned right away:

        “My name is Sam Smith. We have not previously met and the reason for this email is Jane Brown suggested I contact you."  Any amenities can be done later.  Keep the overall email short and purposeful.  State a next step or action and specifically give the recipient a convenient way to reply.


        3)     Emotive - These types of email express some sort of emotion ranging from congratulatory to ones of sympathy.  These can be personal, business or informative.  They might be addressed to a single individual or to an entire company.  Similar to the introductory email, these should be brief and provide for an explanation or purpose of the email in the first sentence or paragraph.  Any niceties or supplemental information can be added after this.  Keeping the message on key is usually the most appropriate and most adherent to Netiquette.  Requests for replies are usually not appropriate.

If any reader would like to see examples, kindly post the request.