Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Is It Okay to Yell At People In An Email Message?

Recently, I received an email message from someone reminding me of a conference call that would take place later that evening. Honestly, every word in the email looked exactly like that. The font was Arial, 16 and purple.

Now I ask you, how do you feel when you receive an email like this, whether professionally or personally?  I can tell you that, both professionally and personally, I find it disturbing and unnecessary. IT HAS THE SAME EFFECT AS USING ALL CAPS, ALL BOLD LETTERS OR EXCESSIVE PUNCTUATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT CAN BE ANNOYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Unless you know the person you are sending the email to is visually impaired, there is no need for email font to be this large. Even if a visual problem were the case, there is assistive technology that is available to help people who are visually impaired read what is being communicated on their computer screens.

For those of you who may have fallen into the habit of yelling at your readers, here are a few reasons why it is not appropriate:

1. Think of it this way, just as it is not a good idea to verbally yell at your colleagues when you are in the office, it not a good idea to yell at them in email correspondence.

2. Just as you do not yell when communicating over the telephone, for the same reasons, it is not appropriate to do it in an email.

3. When writing someone a letter on paper, do you use really big letters? Then don't do it in your email. Both are forms of correspondence, so follow the same rules.  (I know some have probably answered yes to this question, so to them I would like to say just as it is not appropriate to yell in online communications, it is not appropriate to yell in off-line communications.) 

To sum it up.  Please, treat email the same way you treat all other forms of communication.

Email Etiquette: How to Quickly & Easily Write Business Email that Communicates and Gets a Response