[Mentor Text Monday] Emails

My Mentor Text Monday posts are few and far between these days. But every once in a while, I think of some type of text to share. These posts are about me as a reader, a writer, and a communicator.

Today I would like to think about emails. We use email as a daily form of communication for personal and professional exchanges. If you stop to consider the content and style of emails, it is interesting to see such a wide range of formality, language choice, and punctuation. The names and specifics from all of the email segments shared below have been changed or deleted to protect the innocent.

CCC licensed work by Pixabay user Nemo

CCC licensed work by Pixabay user Nemo


I need the following webpage unblocked as soon as possible: www. XYZ. made up website. com . I need to use this lesson on Monday, September 15.  and have already submitted a work order to have it unblocked. I used this lesson last year and our 4th and 5th grade students enjoyed it. Please approve the usage of this webpage on our student computers. Thanks,  Teacher X

What I appreciate about this email is the clear, specific needs expressed (website unblocked for student use, date, previous attempts to fix this, past use) as well as the respectful use of please and thanks.

 This screen rotation on computers is an ‘added value’ function that the kids either discovered or accidentally enabled….

 To rotate the screen, the keyboard shortcut is ctr+shift+refresh (3 keys to the right of the Esc key).  Each tap of this shortcut rotates the screen orientation 90°.
This particular message was one I was blind copied on for informational purposes. It is the punctuation that I want to consider now. The use of apostrophes around the phrase added value, the use of an ellipsis, and the use of bold are all interesting style choices made by the author of this email. Author’s craft is dissected in great detail when we read narratives, but not often when we read emails. However, as the receiver of hundreds of email a day/week/month, I contend that author’s craft is equally important in this electronic communication. When someone chooses to bold or italicize something, I feel he/she wants me to pay close attention to those words, phrases, and ideas. However, when an author uses so many different style choices in one three sentence email, I am often overwhelmed and unwilling to pay special attention to all the extra-punctuated items.
Let’s go!
Thank you.
Each of the lines above were individual email messages. This ties into the thought of formality. You have to have a very clear relationship with someone to send a one or two word communication. There are no formal greetings here. We are not following the old school friendly letter style nor a formal exchange.
I believe that the tone and style of an email are directly linked to our purpose for communicating.
  • What do the emails you send say about you as a writer?
  • How often do you use bold or italics or CAPS to make a point explicitly clear?



About Amy's Reflections

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services in Southern CA, taking time to reflect on leadership and learning
This entry was posted in Mentor Text Monday and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to [Mentor Text Monday] Emails

  1. This is a “perfect” post about… emails.

  2. Pingback: The Reader in Me | Reflections on Leadership and Learning

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