When people abuse email etiquette does it drive you absolutely insane? This includes email from customers, clients, co-workers, business associates, family, and well, just about everyone you know. I know “people” who should be banned from ever having an email account and when I see an email from them in my inbox I groan in frustration and internally weigh the decision of deleting it before clicking on it. We live in an email world and unfortunately; email is still a viable means of communication – even with Facebook so getting it right is important.
Here are some tips to ponder when using email:
1. Not including the email thread in your reply.
How many emails do you get in a single day? When you’re communicating with dozens of people a day, sometimes you forget where you were in a particular conversation or what the conversation was even about, right? So it’s nice to be able to skim through the previous emails to refresh yourself before responding. Do your recipients a favor and include the whole thread when responding. Although deleting the thread cleans up the email and makes it appear less lengthy, in the end, it just creates confusion for the recipient. Don’t make your recipient dig for all the emails trying to make sense of yours.
2. Not using a professional account.
Syncing your professional account with your personal account is convenient but a little risky. But when you have this feature set up, always double-check which account you are sending your mail from. Accidentally firing off a message from email@example.com will not only raise some eyebrows, it will mean the message will probably wind up directly in your recipient’s Spam folder.
3. Not replying to all.
This one is so easy to forget and a pet peeve of mine. If the idea is to keep a number of people in the loop, then do exactly that and use the Reply All button. I don’t need to say anymore.
4. Cc’ing EVERYONE.
Yes, you need to reply to all, but before cc’ing someone into an email conversation, ask yourself if it’s really necessary. Spare that person the gratuitous email if you can.
5. Forgetting the bcc field.
The bcc function is great for when you want to keep someone in the loop but it is not necessary for him or her to be part of the conversation. For example, after someone introduces you to a contact via email, move that person to the bcc field. Also, be mindful of people’s privacy when sending group emails to various recipients. Not everyone wants his or her email address exposed to a large group of people he or she doesn’t know. The older generation has never heard of the bcc function and when I see 54 email addresses in the “To:” section I cringe and make a mental note never to send that person an email.
6. Blah, Blah, Blah, . . !
Another pet peeve! Get to the point please. If it’s something you can’t say in just a few sentences, or you find yourself in a nonstop, back-and-forth conversation, pick up the phone! I’m sorry but I rarely read long emails.
7. Poor Writing Skills.
This alone should convince you to keep it short and always keep a professional tone. That means ensuring emails have proper grammar and are free of slang, misspelled words and abbreviations. (;-) and emoticons.)
8. Creating unnecessary back-and-forth.
When you’re sending a quick email to set up a meeting, provide all necessary information in the first email. Otherwise, it becomes a back-and-forth conversation that could have been taken care of in one response from each side. For example, if you are requesting a meeting with someone, offer your availability. If you are scheduling a call, provide your phone number.