Friday, January 11, 2013

Wordiness in email - some Netiquette principles from NetiquetteIQ

By its nature, email works best with messages not more a page or two long. Attachments are the best utilization for expanding email communications. The follow blog segment provides some basic thoughts. If any reader would like to have this expanded, kindly comment on this.
"This report by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read."
 - Winston Churchill


During the course of a busy day, receiving a long and detailed email is seldom welcomed.  Worse still, the longer a correspondence is, the less likely it is to be read.  There also is a distinct possibility that even if it is read, it may not be done completely or with full attention.  
If a long email is necessary, the proper Netiquette should be followed to insure readability, the early introduction of a major topic and a brief explanation for the need to have a long message.  It may also be best to have the correspondence divided and sent separately.
One long-term negative factor of sending a long or verbose message may set a bad precedent in which the recipient will not immediately or ever read future correspondence.
 Simple steps to avoid wordiness
Certain words can contribute to make sentences less clear as well as providing more verbosity.  Among these are:
·         Kind of
·         Sort of
·         For all intents and purposes
·         In other words
·         Basically, actually
·         As previously stated
·         Generally speaking
·         In particular
·         Generally, in general
Redundant words and appositives
An appositive is defined (by as a word or phrase to identify, amplify or rename the preceding word.  These can be unnecessarily obvious.  Samples of these appositives which add no value are shown below:
This is an example of an appositive which provides unnecessary identification.
George Washington, the first president of the United States and a founding father . . .
George Washington, the first president . . .
George Washington . . .
Redundant Pairs
Most email writers cannot avoid using redundant pairs and this is a common mistake made even in brief messages.  Some generic examples of these include:
·         past                  remembrances
·         basic                 fundamentals
·         true                   facts
·         honest               truth
·         terrible              tragedy
·         final                  outcome
·         unexpected        surprise
·         past                  history
·         future               plans
·         boundary          line
There are many, many more of these and the best way to reduce their usage is to maintain good Netiquette in messages and to edit text before sending.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Email simple format rules from NetiquetteIQ

Simple Format Rules:

1)   Try to limit emails to one page.

2)   Keep paragraphs brief but avoid having many short sentences.

3)   Separate the closing.
4)   Avoid multiple font changes, color changes, font size changes, and style changes particularly in the middle of sentences.

In general, avoid parenthesis characters, unnecessary abbreviations (they save very little time for example Please Thank You message).  Contractions “don’t” save much time (don’t or do not, can’t or cannot). Without contractions, the rendering of your text improves considerably.

Basic Content

        Basic email text is not usually the vehicle for formal documents such as proposals, legal documents, bills and so forth.  These are conveyed as attachments by the vehicle of the email itself.  When the exclusive purpose of the email is indeed the attachment, special care should be given to provide a description of what the document(s) is, the purpose of it being delivered and any other appropriate information.  Additionally any instructions, time-sensitive information or content characteristics should be noted in the text of the email.  Avoid using email for severance, bad news or salary freezes.  It is the best Netiquette.