Millennial email etiquette








If this does NOT give you mild to severe anxiety, we’re guessing you’re not a Millennial.

Growing up in the age where conversations occur more frequently in written form than face-to-face has left most Millennials with an exceptionally honed ability to discern tone from text. We have the tendency to read into In fact, we may find hidden meanings where our Gen X counterparts see nothing at all.

This can spell danger in the workplace world of email. This is not a rant against all millennials- the world knows we’ve seen enough of those and the list of things we’ve “killed” (bar soap, napkins and beer most notably) stretches on longer than the time it takes you to count up all your student debt. This is a practical guide of the misconceptions and mistakes made with Electronic Communication Etiquette.

Reading into email tone

While we have great ability at conveying written emotion, we may also have the tendency to overemphasize (think an excess of exclamation points). The same goes for reading incoming emails. Is my client mad at me? Is this donor being passive-aggressive? Cue up a montage of anything you may have done to offend the third party. Ninety percent of the time, it’s neither. Your Gen X coworkers, colleagues and mentors may not find anything wrong with a one-sentence email ending in a period (not even a sign off to be found). Where you see snarky, they see efficient. The takeaway is don’t dwell on tone.

Know thine audience

Sometimes, minimalism is needed to convey formality. On other occasions, colleagues might appreciate those extra exclamations, the occasional smiley face or perhaps a sunshine emoji on a dark winter day. If there exists any doubt, err on the side of formality. Not all emails need to address a Dear and end Sincerely, but starting with Hello (name), instead of hiya! can ensure a proper level of respect both ways. After all, we’ve worked hard to get this far into the professional realm, haven’t we?

Timing isn’t always everything

In the texting world of constant back-and-forth, it is easy to feel that email also merits immediate response. Who hasn’t fallen victim to the dreaded waiting game? This is where millennials- and some Gen X’ers- need to remain calm. Just because an email is on the top of your “to-do” list doesn’t necessarily mean the same for the addressed. Circumstances and priorities differ and most often patience is key.

Whether you this serves as a refresher or brings fresh perspective to your correspondence, perhaps they will guide your next email interaction. You may now go forth confidently with this wisdom knowing that the rest of we millennials are also silently screaming as we deprive ourselves of e(mail)motion.

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