Email etiquette suggests that you should not use all caps as it gives the impression that you are raising your voice. Most times, caps are viewed in two ways; adding strong emphasis or being lazy. With that said, what about all caps in the Subject: line?
Discretion is Key
But there are exceptions to every rule, right? In general, know that when you use caps, you are adding emphasis. The fact is that caps create the perception of emphasis — the level of which will be determined by the person on the other side. impression. Or worse, you could be misidentified as a spammer that caps everything as though that will legitimize their message.
You can still bring attention to your email by being creative with proper use of the Subject: field, using both caps and lower case. So, how about some examples that show how using the Subject: field can set the tone for your communications even before they are opened?
Examples of CAPS in the Subject: Field
Here are a few examples demonstrating how you can use caps effectively — and then not so much.
Subject: FOLLOW UP: Previous E-mail Subject Here
The above works to draw a little attention to the reason for the email while leaving the established subject in place. Here’s another that works to provide tone and insight:
Subject: REMINDER: Tomorrow’s Meeting
Now, one could assume you were raising your voice and annoyed if:
Subject: WHERE’S MY ANSWER?
Or how about this one?
Subject: WTF! DID YOU GET MY E-MAIL????!!!!!
The above is from an actual email that I received this week. Wow, huh?
Little Details Make a Huge Difference
These little “enuances” make a world of difference in how the Subject: is perceived. It’s all in the words you choose and how you choose to use them that will determine if you are viewed as shouting, being rude, or offering the epitome of professional-focused communications.
Perception is a delicate and subjective thing, and in business can make or break you. When it comes to your email, however, you do have within your control to control precisely how you choose to format and structure the words you use.
Only you can ensure you are perceived favorably and as the credible professional you are!