I don't usually have trouble crafting emails, but I've recently been corresponding with someone in a senior position and whom I have never met (and only just been put in touch with - by email).
So my normal thing is to just address people how they address me... this means that if they write Dear my first name, I would normally follow suit when I reply (especially if it is a more senior person) - until it becomes less formal over time. Or if they start off with Hi/Hi name then I go right into using Hi (name) as well. But I just wondered out of interest what would others do in the following scenario...
This senior person who I don't know yet is addressing me by my name and no greeting at all (a pet hate of mine but doesn't normally matter as I normally just reply "Hi first name" to that anyway). But to reply "Hi first name" to this person seems too informal - given their position and the fact we've never met and these are our first emails. And to just use his first name with no other greeting word, as he is doing, to me feels rude.
So any suggestions? By the way - I think I'm posting this as I'm curious to see what others do as opposed to it being something that is deeply bothering me! Thanks!
Hi. I agree that addressing someone with name and no greeting is actually rude (not seeming rude). If I were you I would just use Hi/Hello first name. It is waht I think is best available response.
Be ware of something. Email communication is usually more rude than normal talk. I try to contact the persons personally or by phone first. of course this is not applicable in many cases such as yours. Also I found out that sometimes whatsapp group message communications tend to be less polite and less friendly than normal communications. It is just like that so try not to get offended (Sometimes I try and fail :)).
Thanks for sharing - I'm glad it's not just me that finds it rude! It kind of feels like slap in the face! I don't get offended though - as usually people who do it are fine in person - and so I figure it's just their email style and it isn't meant to be rude. It seems way less common here in the UK - I don't really know anyone who does it here. It seems way more common in the States. I just can't figure out if anyone can address anyone like that. I just can't imagine addressing my manager or supervisor like that. One day maybe I'll bring myself to be able to it! And yes, I decided to use Hello name, as that felt more formal than high and more polite than name only! :D
You should address people in a way that reflects your personality and manners no matter what. Don't let other's style affect your classy way of crafting an e-mail. I would still use (Dear/ first name) in my first e-mail regardless how I was addressed. I hold myself to certain standards and I don't expect others to hold the same standards as mine.
I'd always respond with the same level of formality as displayed to me.
If the mark has been overstepped, it is not me who has too quickly decreased the level of formality.
My opt out is "Dear Mr/Dr. Smith (or "John" if you prefer)", should it not be clear where you stand.
I prefer informality at the earliest opportunity, as a more laid back position creates a better atmosphere for information exchange. It takes away any sensation of being "uptight".
I would think about whether you want a hierarchical relationship or one which is peer-to-peer level.
Then start addressing people the way you want to continue to address them.
I wouldn't over-analyse how they might respond to you because anyone who gets upset at being addressed by their first name in an email such as "Hi John", probably isn't someone you want to be conducting a professional relationship with. For example, I would not address an academic as either Professor or Doctor beyond perhaps the very first email I sent them if I was the first of us to make contact. Beyond that first email it would be "Hi John".
If they had initiated contact with an email which started "Adam" or whatever with no greeting, I'd be responding "Hi John" from the first email response without exception.
Thanks all! I think my view is quite closely aligned with Ian's here, which is why I was in a bit of conundrum (wanting to match the level of informality but not quite feeling comfortable with it quite yet). I think my "hello John" allowed me to show some respect, and going forward it'll be "hi John". I would have preferred a "dear John" with it being our first ever formal communication and with him being a professor. Nevermind... the moment is forever gone! :-D
pm133 I like what you said about how I want the relationship - hierarchical or peer-to-peer - and that being reflected in the form of greeting. It's quite interesting really.
Now I really should finish my thesis. Printing this week!
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