I came across an interesting article today at CNN.com by humorists Andrea Bartz and Brenna Ehrlich. The subject of their article is email etiquette, and these ladies reminded me that, in truth, email etiquette is no laughing matter. It is something we all need to take into consideration from time to time.
According to Bartz and Ehrlich, in 2009, worldwide email traffic amounted to 247 billion messages per day. They point out that, while we all think we know how to communicate properly via email, most of us do not. This is an important topic for lawyers operating virtual practices where electronic forms of communication like email are most common.
Bartz and Ehrlich identify several problem areas to consider, including:
- Failure to properly use “forward,” “CC,” or “BCC;”
- Failing to remember to say “please” and “thank you;”
- Using harsh tones or characters that indicate a dictatorial tone (e.g., ??? as a reply)
These ladies make many excellent points, and their article is well worth reading. Among their other suggestions, they point out that, “Here you go, thanks” takes three seconds to type, so don’t just cut and paste information into a reply seeking assistance because you truly run the risk of being perceived as an ass.
Furthermore, if you are like me and have a hard time judging the tone of your emails, then you may wish to consider a plug-in recommended by these ladies, ToneCheck. I am going to test this plug-in myself, and will report more on it in the weeks to come.
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