We live in an age where chats are vidchats, broadcasts vidcasts and blog morphs into vlogs. Internet has become an inextricable part of the youth who enters the formal cyber world as a college aspirant, or even a summer intern, and finds himself going through the application process all on the net. Habitual of the ‘chat’ lingo and the deliberate omission of rules of English grammar till now, he has to abide by the p’s and q’s of internet etiquette or netiquette.
Communicating in cyberspace must be guided by socially acceptable language and courtesy. Be it for a job application or an appointment with the doctor, your integrity and professionalism is conveyed through this medium. Here are a few tips to ace formal communication on the Internet.
n The subject of your mail should be precise and preferably limited to five words. Remember to alter the subject in string mails to suit the current situation. This will help in your mail not getting counted as a Spam.
n Salutation can vary from ‘dear’, ‘hi’, ‘hello’ or no salutation depending on who the receiver is. ‘Hi’ and ‘hello’ are informal, ‘dear’ is a neutral salutation, used in both formal and informal situations. ‘Respected’ is obsolete today and omitting the salutation altogether also gets the nod of netiquette experts!
n The titles, Mr, Miss, Mrs and Ms are used in formal communication. Avoid using ‘Mrs’ or ‘Miss’, instead use ‘Ms’, denoting neutral marital status. A title such as Mrs. or Mr. is used only with the surname or the full name e.g. Mr ArjunRao or Mr Rao.
n For the subscription, skip the obsolete ‘kind’ or ‘best’ with ‘Regards’. ‘Sincerely’ is used in extremely formal business communication such as a job application. ‘Yours faithfully’, straight out of a school application, is redundant in corporate communication. All three elements, namely the salutation, subject and subscription must be in sync with the context and ethos of the organisation you are addressing the email to.
n The matter of the mail should be precise, without being curt. Use of bullets to present multiple ideas is a better option than a verbose paragraph. Ensure easy readability of the message by fitting the content on one screen. A sentence should be of one and a half lines and a paragraph of about five lines.
n A message in all caps could cost you your assignment as that equates to screaming in E-mails. Formatting tools such as colour, italics and bold can be used prudently for emphasis and effect. Avoid acronyms and abbreviations unless absolutely necessary.
n Don’t be in a hurry to press the ‘send’ button. The draft must be proof read for any omissions on the spellings and punctuation front. Before sending a chain mail, remember that you also might become a victim of this unwanted clutter.
n In this day and age, avoid using sexist language such as he/she instead use the neutral gender such as ‘the user’ or ‘one’.
Keep in mind these tips to make your emails effective and your communication clear.