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Thoughts on email communcation

Sending email to Chat

  • Send short emails. (If things are complicated, ask me to get back to you face-to-face or Skype)
  • One topic per email. (If you have some requests about teaching and others about research, send two emails.)
  • Highlight important keywords in bold.
  • If you want Chat to do something:
    • Group all action items together in bullet points at the end of the email.
  • If you want to make an appointment:
    • Propose 3 slots that you are convenient in the email.
    • Attach iCal calendar items
    • Invitation sent from calendar apps doesn't always work as expected. If it doesn't work right away, Chat will fallback to the manual calendar item. Don't bug him further.

Receiving email from Chat

  • Chat sends you an email when he request something that is not as urgent enough to do right away. You can do it at your own time. (It doesn't mean that Chat doesn't want to talk to you.)

Replying email to Chat

  • You may choose any appropriate mean of communication to get back to Chat. The efficiency of communication is the key. Something is better to get back in writing while others are more appropriate for face-to-face discussion.

General tips on email writing

  • Subject line

    • Subject line: 25-30 characters (3-5 words)
    • Include keywords in the subject line. Put major keyword in front
    • Be direct
    • Include action verb at the start
    • Include specific details
    • No need to use full sentence
    • Use title capitalization
    • Examples:
      • Introduction - Bob Green
      • Thesis Meeting Apr. 10, 10:00-11:00
      • Job Application No. 1234 - Jane Green, Ph.D.
  • Email text

    • Introduction
      • Author:
        • First time? Include your name, your position, and your organization.
        • Not the first time? Use the pronoun "I" (or "We") and express the controlling idea.
      • Controlling idea: the purpose of the email.
      • Examples:
        • My name is Bob Green and I am a B.Sc. student in Computer Science. I would like to inquire about possible bachelor's thesis topics.
        • I would like to propose a meeting about my bachelor's thesis on Apr. 10, 10:00-11:00.
        • My name is Jane Green and I recently finished my Ph.D. in Computer Science. I would like to apply for a researcher position in your team.
    • Development: The details about the purpose of your email.
      • Think in terms of "wh-" questions that your reader wants to know.
      • Write your development section to answer those questions.
      • Examples:
        • I am interested in HCI, especially in prototyping interactive systems. I have a background in computer graphics and statistics. Your works on interactive statistical analysis interest me. Therefore, I wonder whether there's any thesis topic that I can do in this area? For your consideration, I've attached my transcript and CV in this email.
    • Conclusion: one sentence with positive remarks
      • Show appreciation, hope, wishes
      • Demonstrate your cultural competence
      • Examples:
        • Thank you for your consideration.
        • I look forward to meeting you next Monday.
        • I hope to hear back from you soon.

Resources

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