Email is a very pervasive communication tool for students taking online classes. Just like other forms of communication there are several etiquette missteps that can be avoided if you understand some basic email etiquette. Let’s take a look.
Short Emails are Best
Emails to professors and other students should be short and to the point. Many people delete emails that are over 300 words long because they just seem too daunting to read. You need to format your email in a way that presents your most important idea first.
No Multiple Subjects
Multiple subject emails are confusing and typically all over the place. Plus, they usually do not get read or replied to. If you want to be a solid email communicator with your fellow students and professors then keep your email messages to one subject. If you need to discuss multiple subjects then send separate emails.
Emails sent as one big block of text look sloppy and will not usually get read. You should properly format an email which means keeping each paragraph to no more than 3-4 lines each.
Proper grammar and spelling
You never want to email your professor or fellow students a message that looks like a 2nd grader wrote it. You may be the smartest, most studious person, but if you send a sloppy email it makes you look uneducated.
Emails can easily be misunderstood. Communication is full of so many nuances such as body language, tone, volume, and facial expressions. You want to avoid hyperbole and sarcasm when emailing. For example, “Well thanks for nothing” may be intended as a sarcastic joke, but it could easily be taken literally by the person reading the email. Always be direct, clear, and pleasant in your messages.
Never Criticize in Emails
Emails are great for expressing your opinion, praising others, providing information, and asking questions. They should never be used for criticizing a classmate or teacher. Chances are you will just offend the person and your point will not be made. They will be upset that you did not have the guts to call them or speak to them in person.
All caps means you are yelling at the email recipient. Plus, it’s much harder to read.
Jokes, chain letters, forwards
Most forwards and chain letters are not true. They are urban legend and often fraudulent. Also, never forward jokes that are insensitive, sexual, offensive, and racist. Here’s a test – if you would feel comfortable with your email and name on the front page of the paper then it’s okay to send. Otherwise, pass on sending it.