Tag Archives: positive

E-mailing & E-mail Etiquette

BMH Durban lecturer, Julia Sutherland, provides  excellent advice and pointers on writing professional e-mails and e-mail etiquette.

mail contact

E-mail is an important communication tool within both the personal and professional context (that includes your college career) :

  • It is immediate.
  • Messages can be saved for later review.
  • Messages can be forwarded on, in their original form, to other recipients.
  • It is a means of sharing documentation easily and collaborating on projects without having to meet face-to-face.
  • It is flexible in that you can send both formal and informal messages.

There are many disadvantages to e-mail communication too though:

  • It is easy to misunderstand someone without the usual non-verbal cues we get from face-to-face communication.
  • E-mails are often less formal than other forms of communication, thus an e-mail sender is more likely to write something that they would not ordinarily say in a face-to-face conversation and which may cause offense.
  • It’s also easy to click the “send” button too early or to send a message to the wrong recipient.

Drafting an E-mail

Whatever the topic, e-mails require careful consideration when being drafted which is why you need to ensure that you follow the Five C’s:

  • Be clear
  • Be courteous
  • Be correct
  • Be concise
  • Be complete 

Unlike a formal business letter, you do not need to format an e-mail with an address etc. There are however certain structural rules you need to keep in mind:

  • Add the e-mail address last.
  • Always include a subject line but keep it short and informative 
  • Open with a simple but appropriate greeting
  • Keep the body of the e-mail short and use paragraphs to divide up the information – the same as you would do in an essay: one paragraph for one topic.
  • Your tone should be friendly, positive and professional. Remember: e-mails can be forwarded and work inboxes are not private.
  • Invite a brief response, if necessary.
  • Include an attachment, if necessary, but never send an attachment on its own without any subject line or communication explaining its context.
  • End with a complimentary close.
  • PAUSE BEFORE SENDINGproof read (spelling, grammar, punctuation, details such as times, dates etc.) and make sure you have included everything that is necessary.


E-mail Etiquette

  • Only use industry jargon if the other person is familiar with the jargon.
  • Do not, under any circumstances, use SMS or text speak (e.g. “u” instead of “you”)
  • Get to the point quickly, don’t be too conversational.
  • Do not use ALL CAPS – this means you are shouting.
  • Always address someone specific – don’t just launch into the body of the e-mail without a proper greeting / introduction.
  • Do not demand, always ask (e.g. “Please may I have a copy…” vs. “I want a copy…”)
  • “Please” and “Thank You” are magical words.
  • Avoid using exclamation marks!!!!!!
  • Use a professional e-mail address (e.g. joe.s@gmail.com vs. joe-the-man@gmail.com)
  • Be cautious with humour.
  • Think before hitting: “reply to all” and / or “cc” – use these sparingly.
  • Do not use causal salutations (e.g. Dear Jane vs. Hey Jane)
  • Respond to incoming e-mails as soon as possible.
  • Do not forget to proof read.


Using the correct e-mail etiquette will result in:

  • The reader receiving all the information they need, enabling them to respond or proceed accordingly.
  • The reader not being irritated and / or offended by your e-mail as this may affect their actions / response.
  • The reader taking you seriously.



Shober, D. (2013). Essential Business Communication – Communicating with a vision (2nd ed.). Pretoria: Van Schaik Publishers.

Smith, J. & Giang, V. (2014, September 3). 11 Email Etiquette Rules Every Professional Should Know. Retrieved from: http://www.businessinsider.com/email-etiquette-rules-everyone-should-know-2014-9







FOCUS ON: ADD / ADHD – The Effects of Adult ADD / ADHD

Undiagnosed or untreated ADD/ADHD can result in a person experiencing problems in basically every area of their life. 


The range of effects ADD/ADHD has can result in feelings of embarrassment, frustration, disappointment, hopelessness and lack of confidence. What is important to remember when receiving a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD is that the problems and difficulties you have been experiencing are as a result of the symptoms of ADD/ADHD and not because of a personal weakness or character flaw.

The Negative Side of Adult ADD/ADHD

Mental & Physical Health

The symptoms of ADD/ADHD can contribute to a variety of health problems including:

  • compulsive eating
  • substance abuse or addiction
  • anxiety
  • chronic stress & tension
  • low self-esteem
  • depression
  • mood swings

In addition to this, those with ADD/ADHD are more likely to forget or ignore important medical check-ups and doctors appointments, fail to read and follow medical instructions, and possibly forget to take medications.

Work & Finances

Adults with untreated ADD/ADHD are more likely to change jobs more frequently and under-perform, resulting in low self-esteem and lack of confidence. Problems adults with ADD/ADHD experience in the work (or college) environment include:

  • trouble keeping a job or staying in college
  • difficulty with following company or college rules
  • difficulty meeting deadlines
  • difficulty sticking to a 9 – 5 routine or college schedule

In addition to this many adults with ADD/ADHD find it difficult managing their own finances resulting in bills not being paid or getting lost, late fees and debt due to impulsive spending.


Adults with undiagnosed or untreated ADD/ADHD are at a higher risk for:

  • marital / relationship problems
  • multiple marriages due to divorce
  • higher incidences of separation and divorce

The symptoms of ADD/ADHD can put an enormous amount of strain on work, family and love relationships. The person with ADD/ADHD is often frustrated by their inability to “get organised” or “listen” or “focus”; and those close to them become increasingly resentful because of their perceived lack of “responsibility” and “attention”.

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Having ADD/ADHD does not mean you cannot pursue your dreams or lead a “normal” life; nor is it an indicator of a person’s intelligence or capabilities. What ADD/ADHD does mean is that there may be certain things that are more challenging for you than for others, this doesn’t mean you can’t find ways around these challenges and succeed.

The key to coping with a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD is finding what your strengths are and capitalising on them. You may be disorganised and impulsive but you may also be highly creative, passionate and able to see things from a totally different perspective to others. The aim is to identify what you are good at and work around that. 

The Positive Side of Adult ADD/ADHD

High Energy

A different way to view hyperactivity is “high energy”. If you’re following a career where energy and stamina are required, you can use your “high energy” to your advantage. The challenge however is learning to harness the energy, instead of allowing it to disrupt your focus.

The Devil’s in the Detail

People with ADD/ADHD are not commonly known for their attention to detail; but what most people forget is that a person with ADD/ADHD often can and will become very focussed on tasks or activities they do enjoy, and as a result may pick on details others will miss.

Live in the Now

As with hyperactivity, implusivity too has a positive side to it – being impulsive means you are the type of person who “lives in the now” and doesn’t dwell too far into the future.

Although impulsive behaviour can be risky and can result in unnecessary problems and consequences, if you can learn to manage and direct your impulses the benefits could outweigh the risks.

In Part 3 of Focus On: ADD/ADHD we will be looking at Ways of Managing Adult ADD/ADHD


*The information contained in this post is for informative purposes only and is not a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. 


Metcalf, E. (2013). The Positive Side of Adult ADHD. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/features/positives?page=2 [Accessed on: 25 February 2015].

Segal, R. & Smith, M. (2014). Adult ADD/ADHD: Signs, Symptoms, Effects and Treatment. Retrieved from: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/add-adhd/adult-adhd-attention-deficit-disorder.htm [Accessed on: 25 February 2015].