E-mail Etiquette -or- How to write an e-mail
Here are some suggestions about how to send a professional e-mail.
The better your e-mail conforms to this, the more likely it will pass
a spam-checker, be read, and receive a prompt reply.
- Send the e-mail to me (where my address appears in the "To:" line)
if you want me to read it. Do not expect me to carefully
read it if I am on the CC list. I may not get it if you BCC me.
That is, e-mails sent to "undisclosed recipients" often end up classified
- Put my name in the e-mail, e.g., start with "Hello Dr. Weeks,".
- Put your name in the e-mail, e.g., end with "-your name".
- Do not use text-messaging abbreviations like "u" or "ur".
- If you are in my class, say so, and indicate which one.
- If you want to meet me, be sure that you know when my office hours are.
If you want to meet me during office hours, do not bother with the e-mail.
Just come to my office.
- Try to keep questions easy to answer, like yes/no.
- If you need me to answer a question, make sure to use a question mark.
- Try to keep it short and to the point, but include details when necessary.
- Use plain text when possible.
- Do not include attachments, unless necessary.
- If you have a question about code you are writing for a class, DO attach
the code to the e-mail.
- Do not expect an immediate answer.
- Do not ask me things that you could easily look up.
- Use your official (GSU) e-mail address.
- When you get a response, acknowledge the receipt. Something simple like
"Thanks.", "I got it." or "I got the attachment." works well.
- Do not ask me "what's your schedule?" My office hours are posted. My
classes are posted. The rest of my schedule is different every day
with meetings, appointments, talks, etc. If I were to actually include
every available time-slot for the week in an e-mail to you, it would
change 3 times by the time you read it.
- I would rather read "Sorry, I did / did not ..." than a long-winded excuse.
It is irritating to read a thorough explanation about how something came to
be without the writer taking any responsibility. I am not likely to
share your outrage over how the ACME corporation, the local bus system,
and Otto Von Bismarck IV conspired to prevent you from turning in your
homework. I am likely to mark your homework as late.
- Do not send an attached document when you could simply paste it in the
e-mail body. HTML will allow you to mark up text, and is much more efficient
than a word processor.