Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The most important address field - the subject line - A Must Read!

The subject field in email

        Besides your name and company, this will be the first item a message reader will see. Therefore, this should never be blank. The action of not having a subject has only negative connotations. The least of these is that the author was lazy or neglectful. The worst of these is that the message is a possible spam (at least to the spam software). Either way, the initial reaction to any email omitting a subject will be negative. If it is indeed viewed this way, then the odds of the message being read by a first-time recipient surely decrease dramatically. If the message is important, such as a résumé, introduction, or emergency, the negative implications to the sender may be quite significant. So, always include a subject description. Provide proper punctuation but do not include a period at the end.

        Even when there is a subject description, it may not be adequate, appropriate, or accurate to the content of the message itself. Too short of a subject, such as “info,” can also discourage someone from opening and reading the message. Conversely, a long email subject line might have a negative effect either for lack of interest (because of the way it is described), lack of clarity or because it gives away too much of the content. As a rule, it is best to restrict the subject description from two or three to ten words. Insure that a subject line is not the whole message with blank text in the email body. Some find it chic to split a message that begins in the subject line and continues into the text itself. This does not accomplish anything and as often as not, it may be lost (or misunderstood) in the reader’s transition from reading the subject line to opening the text itself.

        In entering the subject-line content, it is best to accurately repeat content as well as present a bridge to something important to the recipient such as “Schedule of your classes,” or “Recap of our meeting today.” Leave it to the body of text to explain attachments or provide expanded details. This has many effects (implications) on not only generating interest but also causing a rejection or interest setting a positive or negative tone.

Happy good Netiquette emailing!


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