Thursday, October 16, 2008

Email Etiquette tip: Avoid emoticons, abbreviations, and smiley faces

While some of these may be cute, there is little need for them in a business environment. Emoticons sent via a business e-mail can paint an employee as puerile and unprofessional. Smiley faces should be left for personal e-mailing. In addition, unknown abbreviations can cause confusion.

For instance, do you understand the following message?

From: Howard
Sent: February 23, 11:16 AM

To: Betty
Subject: F2F Mtg Req

Am req a F2F w/ u ITNF, 2 discuss upcoming PRs. R U available Mon @ 3? Pls lv a msg on my vm, as I w/b OOO. L8R, H

Translation: Face to face Meeting Request

I am requesting a face-to-face meeting with you in the near future to discuss upcoming performance reviews. Are you available Monday at 3:00? Please leave a message on my voice mail, as I will be out of the office. Later, Howard

While some common and universally understood abbreviations—such as FYI (For Your Information) and EOM (End Of Message)—can be appropriate, others, like BTW (By The Way,) and TTFN (Ta Ta For Now) may be confusing. They may even prompt a needless return e-mail by the recipient asking what they mean.

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