Email Etiquette Part 2: 3 Quick Tips

By Elyssa Dolinger on March 10, 2010

By Elyssa Dolinger on March 10, 2010

Continuing on with our Email Etiquette series, I have 3 quick tips. The sandwich method, active voice and the use of sentence case.

First, the sandwich method. It goes a little something like this:

When you sandwich your critique or bad news in good news, it makes people a lot more receptive to what you have to say. It looks less like an attack and more like the helpful-yet-unsavory idea it is meant to be. This isn’t a way to disarm people so that you can sucker punch them; this just a little something you can try to build respect and trust with a person you may not speak to a lot outside of email. Grease the wheels with politeness and things will go a lot smoother.

Another subtle change that can make you more personable is the use of active voice. Oh no. Grammar. Active voice just means that you try to use use the active role of a verb whenever possible.

Example1:

Your updates will be processed by the end of the week.

My Response?

Meh. A robot sent me a response. I wonder if my updates will ever go through?

Example 2:

We will process your updates by the end of this week.

My Response?

I look at the calendar. Oh? Really? The end of this week? That’s fast.

An easy way to tell the difference between active and passive voice? Look at who the subject is. In the first example, it’s the ‘updates.’ The updates are processed. In the active example ‘we’ process updates. It’s a lot more personable when there is a person involved.

My last tip should be pretty self explanatory. PLEASE DON’T USE ALL CAPS FOR YOUR ENTIRE EMAIL. EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT SHOUTING, IT SOMETIMES APPEARS THAT YOU ARE.

Read part 3 for more tips.

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