Have you ever sent an email without proofreading it and then cringed upon reviewing the sent message because it had unnecessary typographical and grammatical errors? Unfortunately, we often hurriedly compose emails or forget to respond to the ones we have received. These scenarios may lead to unfavourable outcomes.
Our email communication with colleagues, administrators and business associates may be viewed as a reflection of the level of our professionalism. Therefore this type of communication necessitates that we check our tone, pay attention to grammar, address relevant issue(s) and reply promptly. Let us bring it back to basics with a helpful reminder on email etiquette in the education setting.
This is a principle that we should apply to all of our online communications, especially in a professional setting. Proofreading is crucial because it creates the difference between a dismissed message and receiving a favourable response. Proofreading enables us to minimise errors, eliminate traces of personal bias, adjust tone and give better focus to what we really want our email to say.
Follow the chain of command
In every institution, there are protocols in place to manage the daily challenges. One of these protocols is following the chain of command. Do not skip anyone in an attempt to accelerate attaining your desired outcome. If we do, it indicates that we are undermining authority. It may also serve to exacerbate the situation. Keep this in mind when you are tempted to “copy” or “blind copy” important persons on emails for which they do not need to be included. You have a better advantage when you are respectful and maintain discretion.
Keep it focused
The UAE has many educators in numerous offices who are not native English speakers. Keep this in mind when you write your emails. Let your subject line match the message. Be clear with what you are expressing. Your intended message could get lost if there are redundant details. Also, be mindful that most persons tend to ignore long emails due to hectic schedules.
Diplomacy is your friend
It is easy for someone to misinterpret the tone of an email. Be diplomatic. Never write or respond to an email when you are feeling emotional. An emotional response can suggest that you are either on the offensive, insincere or being too defensive. The general rule dictates that in a professional setting you never make it personal even if it is.
When someone sends you an email, they have committed time and thought to the process. You should return the courtesy by responding, even if it is only to let the sender know that his/her email has been received. Respond in a timely manner (within 24 hours of receiving the original message is best, but up to 48 hours is acceptable).
This list is not exhaustive. We hope that you will think about all the other great tips that you should keep in mind when writing and responding to emails.