Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Netiquette IQ Blog Of The Day - Do Not Ignore The Subject Line!

Most serious email users utilize spelling and grammar checks. Often overlooked is making sure this is done in the subject line. Also many users are inconsistent with how they punctuate in this area as well. Because this is one of the key fields which determine if your email is opened and read, it is critical to be thorough and consistent.

Here is an excerpt from my book which elaborates on this.

Grammar and punctuation in the subject field

            The first word in the topic area should be capitalized. All other rules of grammar and punctuation should be followed as well, other than ending the topic with a period since many message descriptions are not complete sentences. Many presume that the rules of grammar, punctuation, and capitalization can be ignored. However, since this is the area that may present the addressee with his or her first impression of the sender, all of these items are even more critical.

            We all want our messages to be read, and be read as soon as possible. There are many ways to accomplish this and just as many ways to fail in this. Terse and non-descriptive subject-line entries aren’t likely to secure a recipient’s interest and attention. Conversely, aggressive and pitch-like descriptions can easily produce their own negative effects. Be cautious of one- or two-word subject-line entries. Some of the most common are similar to “meeting,” “request,” “good morning,” “position,” and “something new.” Specifically avoid informality, unnecessary abbreviations, and emoticons (here especially).

            When spell-checking, do not ignore the subject line. Many spelling errors occur here. If a person is responding to an email and finds an error, he or she should correct it; not to do so might result in anyone else reading the email thinking it is the responder’s mistake. Clearly, one must be certain that any correction made is indeed correct. Be mindful of company names that mix capitalization unconventionally (e.g., iPhone, La-Z-Boy). When making corrections, do not chastise the sender’s error. Remember that true Netiquette is not meant to force a process on someone’s modus operandi. Netiquette works best by example, not criticism.

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