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PC Tip of the Month

Begin Emails with a Name

July 2020 – by Per Christensson

It sounds simplistic, perhaps even obvious, to address the recipient of an email at the beginning of a message. But many people don't make the effort. Instead, they start the email with the message, not bothering to mention the person's name.

Yes, the recipient's name is implied in the "To" field, included with every email. But that doesn't mean you should neglect the common courtesy of addressing the person by name. Here are a few reasons to begin each email with the recipient's name.

  1. It is more personal. Addressing a person by his or her first name makes the message more meaningful. It shows that you took the time to write the message to that specific person.
  2. It is more professional. Addressing the email recipient(s) by name is especially important in a work context. It is respectful and adds credibility to your message.
  3. It avoids confusion. The name identifies the person for whom the message is written. This is especially helpful in group emails. It is also a good way to double-check that you are sending the email to the right person.
  4. It avoids spam flagging. Most spam messages are not addressed to a specific person. Therefore, spam checkers are less likely to label your message as spam if you start the email with the recipient's name.
  5. It makes old messages easier to find. It's easy to locate messages to a specific person by searching the message body for that person's name. This is especially helpful when searching through group messages and long email threads.

Email etiquette, or netiquette, has evolved over the past several decades. As social media has grown in popularity, the casual communication style has affected how people communicate via email. But that doesn't mean you have to lower your standards. The few seconds it takes to type your recipient's name is well worth the effort.

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