I’m a pretty friendly person, and my email correspondence often reflects this aspect of my personality. I (potentially over-) use smileys with family and friends. With coworkers and mentors, I keep things more formal, but I still like to convey a sense of warmth – for lack of a better word – with colleagues. For first time correspondence with a potential collaborator, I try to keep things somewhat more formal.
As a new faculty participating in a vastly increased amount of email correspondence, however, I’m struggling with just how friendly I need to/should be in my emails, while not wasting too much time crafting each individual email message. Lots of people are doing me favors, the kind of favors that good mentors and wonderful staff LIKE to do for n00bie profs. I want to show my appreciation, but I don’t want to come across sounding like a teenager chatting with their BFF. (OMG, Dr. Mentor, thx bunches for sending my CV to Dr. Hot Shot at nearby Kewl University! 🙂 I SO can’t wait to collaborate with her on her awesome SCIENCCCCCZZZZEEEE!! 😛 You totally ROCK! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
One way I show appreciation is via use of the exclamation mark. While this can become just as annoying as the smiley, I think there are appropriate times and instances for its use. I also find certain email recipients to be more amenable to the exclamation point, while others generally receive more reserved correspondence. And then there are times when I just can’t decide: without an exclamation point, the email seems too dry or impersonal or ungrateful, while the addition of just one little line makes the email feel like I’m trying to hard. Maybe because I’m trying to hard. Hmmm…
I’ve also gone back and forth quite a bit on how to open and close my emails. If I don’t know the person, I often use “Dear” as the salutation. If I do know them, I use “Hi”. But how to close? I’ve tried “cheers”, “best”, “take care”, but none of these really work for me. Sometimes I just close with my name, and other times I follow the lead of the individual with whom I’m corresponding. I’ve also noticed a lot of people I email with using just the first initial of their first name at the closing. Should I start signing off with simply a “D”?
How do you write work emails? Short and to the point? Lots of smileys and exclamation points? Salutations and closings?