“Don’t praise your
furnace when the house is cold.” Russian proverb
Writing in the September 2002 issue of the Work & Family Life newsletter
(firstname.lastname@example.org), editor Anne
Perryman offers this advice on the proper use of e-mail as a communication tool:
* Grammar and spelling still count. It's okay to relax the rules with some people
but it's not a good habit at the workplace. Sending messages riddled with errors
makes people think you are careless, or even worse, that you don't know better.
* Subject lines are important. They help recipients prioritize their e-mail and
help senders clarify their thoughts. And if the person you are e-mailing will
not recognize your address, the subject line may be all that keeps your message
from a quick drag to the trash.
* Be brief. People use e-mail to save time, so be concise....
* Avoid option keys or special formats. Even carefully proofread e-mail and attachments
can become gibberish when symbols (such as those used to create bold type for
example) fail to translate on someone else's computer.
* Don't be too casual. E-mail is a friendly, first-name kind of medium. But if
you do not know to whom you are writing, don't be too informal or overly chatty.
To this list I am going to add one piece of my own advice. Avoid cutesy abbreviations.
Although it may save you time to use all sorts of abbreviations, such as "Thx
4 ur help," they do not necessarily contribute to successful communication.