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The Power of Professional Email Etiquette and the Significance of Correct Name Spelling

In the fast-paced world we live in today, email has become an indispensable mode of communication, especially during the pandemic when remote work and virtual interactions became the new norm. As a computer science professor, I have personally experienced the transformative potential of effective email communication. Simultaneously, I've also come to realize the profound impact that correctly spelling names can have on fostering a respectful and inclusive environment.


**The Importance of Email Etiquette**


During the pandemic, email and online communication took center stage as the primary means of staying connected with colleagues, supervisors, and students. I vividly recall team-teaching a course with a colleague, and I couldn't help but notice a contrast in our email communication styles. While I maintained a professional tone, my colleague often used multiple exclamation marks, unintentionally creating an impression of shouting. Though his intentions were likely not malicious, the tone of his emails sometimes came across as combative, highlighting the significance of email etiquette.


Email etiquette goes beyond mere information exchange; it sets the tone for our interactions. Practicing good email etiquette can make a significant difference in how our messages are received and interpreted by recipients. Here are some key points to consider:


1. **Be Mindful of Tone:** Avoid excessive punctuation, such as multiple exclamation marks, that can be perceived as aggressive. Opt for a balanced tone that is both friendly and professional.


2. **Address Appropriately:** Use appropriate titles and forms of address when corresponding with colleagues and students. Acknowledging someone's expertise by using formal titles like "Dr." or "Professor" shows respect and professionalism.


3. **Avoid Casual Language:** Maintain a level of formality in your writing. While some use of informal language may be suitable for certain contexts, it's crucial to strike the right balance and uphold credibility in a professional setting.


4. **Be Clear and Concise:** Keep your emails direct and to the point, avoiding ambiguity and ensuring that your message is easy to understand.


**The Significance of Correct Name Spelling**


My name is Shahnaz Kamberi, which differs from American standards. When I first started 7th grade, my family moved from New York City to Pennsylvania due to a job opportunity for my father. On my first day at the new school, several weeks into the academic year, my homeroom teacher introduced me to the class, and the majority of the students were non-immigrant students. As soon as my name was mentioned, the entire class burst into laughter, mispronouncing my name in various ways, one of them being "Schnoz." I felt vulnerable and isolated, seeking help from my teacher, but she offered no support and returned to her desk. I had to navigate through the laughing group of students to find my seat. This experience left a lasting impact on me, and since then, I've become very sensitive about my name. I even contemplated changing it to sound more American during my early years in the United States, but my parents encouraged me to keep my name and heritage.


Regrettably, there is an award with my name misspelled sitting in my office as a reminder of the importance of getting names right.



Your name is an integral part of your identity, and having it misspelled in emails can be disheartening. It inadvertently sends a message of being undervalued or overlooked. As a professor with an uncommon name, I can't emphasize enough the importance of getting names right, especially for those with less common names. Correctly spelling names demonstrates respect, recognition, and acknowledgment of an individual's uniqueness.



To avoid the pitfalls of misspelling names in email communication, consider the following tips:


1. **Double-check Names:** Before sending an email, verify the spelling of the recipient's name. Refer to previous emails or official documents to ensure accuracy.


2. **Ask for Clarification:** If you're unsure about the correct spelling of someone's name, don't hesitate to ask politely. Showing an interest in getting it right demonstrates your commitment to thoughtful communication.


3. **Use the Correct Salutation:** Addressing someone by their preferred title (e.g., Dr., Professor, Ms., Mr.) along with their name adds an extra layer of professionalism and respect to your email.


The power of professional email etiquette and the significance of correct name spelling cannot be overstated. As educators, colleagues, and professionals, we must understand that the little things matter. Effective email communication and using the correct spelling of names contribute to a positive, respectful, and inclusive environment.


By embracing email etiquette and valuing the importance of names, we create stronger connections and demonstrate that we respect each person's individuality. Let's strive to foster a workplace and academic environment where every individual feels valued, appreciated, and recognized for their unique contributions. Remember, the impact of our words goes beyond information exchange; it shapes the essence of our interactions and relationships. Let's use email as a tool for building bridges and nurturing a culture of understanding and respect in our professional and academic communities.

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