Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
—Charles Caleb Cotton
One very subtle element of tone, in a positive sense, is mirroring or imitation of style. First coined by Charles Caleb Cotton in 1821, the above adage is one of the most frequently heard, and with good reason. When corresponding with someone partly or totally unknown, imitation can prove to be a very nice way to establish a rapport with your correspondent. To achieve this, it is necessary to pay close attention to the tone and humor your recipient has maintained. Examine the parts of the email, starting with the subject line. Did the sender provide a detailed salutation? Is the style formal or on a first-name basis? Be alert if this changes, as it sometimes will.
Body of text—is there usually a polite sentence or two, or does the correspondent avoid any informality and get directly to the issue at hand? Are sentences and paragraphs brief or lengthy? Is the vocabulary simple or polysyllabic? Does the tone imply more politeness or more of a commandeering attitude? Is punctuation and detail evident?
Signature—look for formality or familiarity in the signature; in particular, a full name (first and last) or shortened first name (e.g., Bob, Jack). It is most important to be mindful of a nickname.
Signature detail—some senders have no detail on any signature block. This item does not need to be changed for mirroring or style equivalency purposes.
Mottos, slogans, or inspirational footnotes should be avoided. However, if a correspondent uses them and shares a mutual affinity, this can be a very nice way to legitimately connect.
If, over a longer term, it happens that a less formalized tone evolves from the correspondent, it is a good time to match this. However, caution should be taken not to do so on a greater scale.========================
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Good Netiquette And A Green Internet To All!
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