Be Better at Email

We all use our work email differently but there are some things that our co-workers do that just drive us bonkers. You might want to read through this to make sure you’re not causing others too much grief.

1. Don’t complain about getting a lot of e-mail. We all do. Sharing an inflated number of how many you get doesn’t make us sympathize with you.
2. Don’t mark an e-mail as “urgent” if it isn’t urgent. Remember that lack of preparedness on your part doesn’t constitute urgency on mine.
3. Don’t send unnecessary e-mails.
4. Don’t CC people unnecessarily. Ask yourself whether everyone needs to be included. Most of the time, the answer is no. The hope is that others will reciprocate and leave you off of irrelevant messages.
5. Don’t hit Reply All for birthday wishes, welcomes and congratulations to one person in particular.
6. Don’t use all caps unless YOU ARE YELLING! For emphasis, try italics.
7. Don’t forget to use spell check. Even though e-mail is casual, keep them professional, even to friends.
8. Don’t ever criticize, condemn or complain over e-mail. It is too easy to be misinterpreted. Communicating an appropriate tone and emotion through e-mail is almost impossible.
9. Don’t use a bunch of emoticons or too much e-mail slang. I know you’re a QT but w/o clear direction, I’m not able OTOMH to be sure what this :-/ means.
10. Don’t use funky formats and backgrounds for your e-mail. Not all e-mail systems are compatible, and that pretty flower template may look jumbled in someone else’s inbox.
11. Don’t use a long e-mail signature. When your signature is four times the length of your e-mail, it’s out of proportion.
12. Don’t use the BCC often, if ever. If someone needs to be hidden from the e-mail conversation, you are likely gossiping behind someone’s back. It’s a strong indicator that a spoken conversation is in order.
13. Don’t send an emotional e-mail without letting it sit for 24 hours. Better yet, don’t send it at all. If it’s emotional, you need to have a one-on-one conversation.
14. Don’t add people to your distribution e-zine lists without permission. Just because I gave you my card doesn’t mean I care to read your random thoughts every month (or your friend’s).
15. Don’t assume every e-mail you send is important and that you’ll get an immediate response. The importance and urgency of your message is determined by the other e-mails in your recipient’s inbox.
16. Don’t write an e-mail longer than what people can read in the preview pane.
17. Don’t send giant attachments. Anything over 1 to 2MB will likely slow down the recipient’s computer and create frustration.
18. Don’t forward inappropriate messages to work e-mail addresses. If I want to see the “People of Wal-Mart,” I know where to find them.
19. Don’t use e-mail as a group-brainstorming tool. Many people write  “Thoughts?” or “What do you think?” Don’t ask for opinions through e-mails. Instead, use e-mail for scheduling or adding an agenda item to a list and get opinions in a meeting, in person or on a phone call.
20. Don’t have your “out of office” responder on every day of the year just to tell people how busy you are. Although it might seem like a good way of increasing communication with other

(via OPEN Forum)

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