6 Email Abuses to Avoid.

iStock_000012234497XSmallWe each receive many emails daily. Some of us literally receive hundreds of emails daily. Far too many. Therefore, you’d think that since we all use email so frequently that we would each be email communication whizzes. We should know all the techniques to get one’s email read. Right? Alas, this is not the case.

Over time I’ve seen the most god awful emails, ones which the sender obviously gave no thought to how they might be received. So in the interest of good communication, here are the 6 things to absolutely avoid if you want to be an effective communicator:

1. Humor

Humor has no role in emails. The recipient doesn’t understanding when you are kidding or serious. Written humor doesn’t work. Email has no inflection. Worse yet, when you use humor you are often misunderstood and do yourself harm. Don’t use it!

2. Lengthy emails

If you are sending an essay, please stop, and send it as an attachment and summarize the key points in the email. Please, keep emails brief. No long prose. Number the key points if possible.

3. Copying the world

Don’t copy those who don’t have a need to know. You waste everyone’s time.

4. Spelling & font

I am sometimes guilty of this, I admit. Please use spell check and try to use correct grammar. An email is not a text. AND PLEASE DON’T USE ALL CAPS. (see how obnoxious it is to do so–it’s like you are shouting in print)

5. Don’t engage in an extended argument

This one is really, really important. If you have a serious difference in your point of view, call the recipient or even better, see them in person. You’ll be amazed how some conversation might resolve an issue that an email chain only worsens. But don’t start an argument via email. The next time anyone changes their point of view based on an email will be the first.

6. Never send an email in anger

This is even worse than a mere argument. This is where you are really upset and want to blast off a terse response telling the other party they are a jerk. Not so fast. Pause, wait. Wait 24-48 hours then revisit the email. I guarantee you will greatly modify your email (or better yet won’t send it at all).

Email is a wonderful form of communication of facts, quick information and setting an in-person meeting. Unfortunately given the volume of emails, its effectiveness is diminishing. (Didn’t You See My Email?) Please don’t add to the issues by abusing good email practices.

Did I miss any abuses?

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One Comment

  1. Caroline Oakes says:

    Great advice, great post. Thanks for posting.

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