Emails, oh boy! Writing them seems like a walk in the park, but hey, we’ve all been there, right? That “uh-oh” moment when you’re about to hit send and suddenly wonder, “Is this email A-okay?” Doubts creep in—did I nail the tone, the words, the vibe?
Fear not, dear educators! I’m here to save the day with some email etiquette pearls. Let’s make those email jitters a thing of the past!
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Email Etiquette For Educators: 12 Steps For A Well-Crafted Email!
1.) Follow the Oreo Method
In today’s time, writing a well-crafted email is considered a valuable life skill. Especially since the pandemic the normal communication process that took place in the school suddenly shifted virtually.
That’s why it’s important to know how you can create an appropriate and well-thought-out email that will be easily understood and appreciated by your recipients.
The Oreo method for sending emails is a simple but effective strategy whose goal is to help you craft the perfect email that will help avoid flooding replies and confusion.
I’m pretty sure that you are familiar with the well-loved cookie, Oreo, right? Now it might sound silly to use the Oreo cookie for an analogy and relate it to email etiquette but stay with me for a while. I promise it will make sense.
Now we all know that the Oreo cookie has three parts. The top cookie, the yummy vanilla cream filling, and of course the bottom cookie. Now imagine that these three will act as the layers of your email.
The top cookie will serve as your introduction or greeting, in this part, you can say something like “Hi [insert name]”, “Good morning/evening”, “How are you doing?” or maybe, ”I hope this email finds you well”. Somewhere along those lines.
Now for the most loved and fun part, that stuffed vanilla cream filling in the oreo will serve as the body of your email. The body of your email should contain the sole reason why you are sending out an email. It’s where you will place the important message that you want to relay to your recipient.
And for the bottom cookie, it will act as your closing. A closing might not seem that important but having a good one will impact the tone of your email and how it looks like. Try to choose a nice closing to end your email, like “Warmest regards”, “All the best”, “Most sincerely”, or try a unique one like, “Great working with you”.
This method is also great to share with your students if they’re having issues with constructing their emails. I’m sure they will love the Oreo Analogy!
2.) Write a Solid Descriptive Subject Line
A lot of the time we don’t put too much thought into the subject line, but let me tell you that this can make a huge difference when you are constructing an email.
Writing a solid and descriptive subject line will immediately let your recipient know what your email is about. This already gives them an idea about the importance and the body of your message.
It’s best to keep it fairly short, about 6-8 words, and you have to make sure that your subject line matches the content of your email.
Never send an email with an empty subject because your email can potentially be tagged as spam, or your recipient might not have to interest to read your email.
Remember, always write a solid subject line, be precise and make sure that it matches the content of your email.
3.) Give context
Try to add in the context of the last conversation you had with your recipients by placing it in the first few sentences of your email. This will eliminate confusion and will lessen unnecessary thread replies if you are to give context about the purpose of your email.
4.) Go straight to the point
Nobody wants to read a long open-ended email, I know I don’t. And I assume you don’t like reading confusing emails too. If that’s the case, the same goes for everybody as well.
Keeping your email short and straight to the point means that you are being courteous to your recipients’ time. The goal of keeping your email short but concise is to reduce scroll time on both ends, which is you and the people that are included in your email conversation.
In your email clearly state what you need to relay and why you are sending it. Also provide a call-to-action statement, where you will indicate what you would like to have them do after receiving your email.
If you are to Cc (Carbon copy) someone, make sure to let them know why they are looped in.
5.) Double Check Attachments
I know we’ve all been through this at some point in our lives. Clearly stating in our email that we’ve included an attachment only to find out after sending the email that it’s nowhere to be found.
This can be quite embarrassing especially if you’re trying to send an email to a colleague, parents, or the principal at your school. But that’s why we must learn from our mistakes.
Always double-check your attachments if they are indeed attached. And to really save you from this hassle, tip #12 will really help you with that later on!
6.) Keep Organized
Once your inbox becomes disorganized it can be hard to sort out everything into their perspective places again. That’s why we should always keep everything organized and neatly in place.
Check if there’s already a related email to what you are writing if there is then go ahead and reply to that.
And refrain from creating a new topic under an existing thread that is not even related to the new one that you want to start.
In this way, you’ll keep your email inbox organized and not so chaotic to look at.
7.) Know When To Use “Reply All” And “Reply”
These two might look the same, but they serve different purposes. The Reply All button will reply to all people included in the loop of your email, this includes your main recipient/s and your Ccs.
Whereas the reply button will only reply to your email’s original recipient/s. The Reply all button is best used if you want your main recipient/s and Cc’s to see your response.
But on the other hand, if everyone does not need to view your response, try to avoid the Reply all button—they’ll be thanking you for that.
8.) Reply In A Timely Manner
Whenever you send a text message and the person you texted does not reply instantly it can make you feel like you’re being ignored, the same goes with emails.
Try your best to reply within 24 hours of receiving the email if you can, or if you cannot promptly reply just acknowledge the email first and give a definite timeframe of when you will be able to provide an appropriate response to their email.
9.) Nail Your Email Sign Off
As I have mentioned before having a closing to your email is an important part to make your email look well-crafted and well-thought off.
Now the classic sign-offs like “Thanks” and “Best”, are good. But you can do better than that.
Try switching it up to, “Kind regards”, “Sincerely”, or “Respectfully”. This will make your email sound more formal and professional.
But if you are sending an email to closer colleagues or friends, you can try to use more casual sign-offs like, “Best wishes”, “As ever”, or “Many thanks”.
10.) Use a professional-looking signature
Documents and papers are no longer the only places where you need to affix your signature. Nowadays, emails have them too!
Here’s a simple tutorial on how you can make an email signature. You can easily create one like this using Google Docs or Canva.
Pro tip: If you’re sending an email using your phone, better delete the “Sent from my iPhone” or “Sent from my Android” phrase because it will make your email look tacky.
11.) Proofread And Check Your Grammar
You’re a teacher and you already know the importance of proofreading and grammar checking.
Even if you are in a hurry to send an email, always check everything from top to bottom, especially for important emails that you are going to send like announcements to parents, or meeting appointments with your co-teachers.
You can install Grammarly as an extension or Hemingway as a desktop app that you can use to check the grammar and spelling in your emails. These apps will make sure that your emails are spick and span!
12.) Enter your email recipient’s email address last
This last and final tip will have you emailing like a boss. I know that for some of us it has become a habit to start an email by filling up the “To:” portion immediately with your recipient’s email address.
This is actually a wrong move because this increases the chance of you sending a half-done email, an email with no attachments that should have had attachments, or an email that has not been proofread and edited yet.
You should be entering your recipient’s email address last because this gives you the opportunity to make sure that your email is good to go and flawless.
Just a friendly tip!
Remember that the person reading your email will not be able to see your face whether you are smiling or being sarcastic with your message. That’s why it’s important to keep the tone of your email “Virtual-friendly”.
Try to attempt to add positive emotions to your writing but never use too many punctuations like these (???) (!!!) as they can send off the wrong vibe.
Hope these tips will help you confidently email the next time you draft one! If you have more tips to add I’d be glad to read them, so leave them down below!
Until our next one, all the best!