A Scientist's Guide To Email Etiquette

As much as we would all like to just be free from it so we can focus on more important things like research or lunch, the reality is that email is an inevitable part of being a scientist.

And why wouldn’t it? Used properly, it’s one of the best ways to send information, allowing you to quickly send a note to your colleague, send revisions to a paper manuscript or even confirm an appointment. Furthermore, with countless scientists from all over the world, it can also be an easy way to form collaborations.

Nevertheless, there’s still something so alien about emails that it can be hard for some to properly reply to one that’s sent to them, or have trouble writing one themselves. So we took out the guesswork for you. Here are some of the top email etiquette you can follow to make the most out of that electronic message:

Stay professional

This is after all, a work-related exchange, and so we recommend that you stay professional and avoid using slang. Speak in a clear and formal tone and use an official institutional email address. Scientists will let you know when they’d prefer to be addressed more informally.

Take sensitive conversations offline

If a topic requires a good ol’ back and forth or a quick response, then it’s recommended to make use of a normal conversation. No need to use emails all the time since it can just lead to confusion.

Be concise and courteous

Remember, emails are not dissertations. Try not to beat around the bush and write a very long one. Instead, make it precise and straight to the point, without being preachy or bossy in tone. You wouldn’t want people to flood your own inbox, right?

Create boundaries

You wouldn’t want to be receiving emails during your free and downtimes, right? So make sure you extend the same type of courtesy to people you communicate with. As such, turn off your email when your work demands your complete attention or when you’re resting. No need to be online all the time, unless it’s an urgent matter.

Email When can you expect someone to get back to you via email? Pixabay Public Domain

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