There is one real reason I was motivated to write this – the inappropriate and all too common use of reply all. But I figured that since top 10 lists pull lots of readers I would give you nine more things to think about as a bonus.
Email has been around a long time now. If you are young you learned it in school. If you are mature like fine wine you learned it in a some mandatory training the HR lady made you do.
In some cases, the training was inadequate or people didn’t pay attention. Or, some people are bullies or just plain old do not care about email etiquette or any type of proper etiquette at all.
I get it, I like to be a rebel once in a while too, but not at the inconvenience or embarrassment of, or to the detriment of others. I like to be a rebel not the village idiot and I never aspire to be a pain in the ass.
Here are 10 reasons you could be considered an email pain in the ass. One or more could be the reason people never seem to get back to you, block you, create rules that send you to trash automatically or create an auto-response to deal with you.
#10 – You require ‘read receipt’ for everything – really? Be smart and if it doesn’t get bounced back to you know that it was delivered (somewhere). If you don’t get the response you need than follow-up. The onus is on you.
#9 – You forget to use or don’t care to use spell check, one of the best computing features ever invented. That doesn’t make you appear to be very intelligent.
#8 – The send button is not the trigger on an AK47. Shooting off directive or angry email like a Chechen rebel will not accomplish much good or make peace.
#7 – You think email is better with the fancy Outlook backgrounds enabled. It’s not, it just makes your message hard to read. Turn it off.
#6 – Script fonts are not replacements for cursive writing. I know you didn’t get a pen out and write to me on the monitor. They make nice accents in graphic design, on fliers, etc. Use Arial, Global, Times New Roman, Veranda or some other font common to all systems and easy on the eyes.
#5 – You have a reputation for blind copying others on confidential correspondence. Evaluate long and hard the real reason you do that. It’s probably going to turn out that you are vindictive and drama ridden. I would be rich if I had a penny for every time I was right on this one..
#4 – Chain mail excites you and you feel instantly and magnetically compelled to forward it. That has strong undertones of OCD. Petting a dog or cat has been proven to relieve anxiety. Try that instead and stop forwarding delightful musings to my inbox. I have enough real and important email to deal with. I can consult a search engine if I need an email hoax fix.
#3 – When you forward email that has been forwarded for the bazillionth time and discloses 10,000 email addresses because all your foward-frenzy friends are also email PIA you feed the spam monster a buffet. Don’t feed the monster. And if you do have to forward something, delete all the >>>>>>>> and remove all the OP email addresses.
#2 – You don’t judge and speak to your audience effectively. When you send a business (job search emails are business didn’t ya know?) email it needs to look like a business email. Punctuation, grammar, greeting – bcuz u wont b takn 4realz if u dont.
And the #1 reason I wrote this post is because this week – I was embroiled in an absolutely horrid email and resulting PR snafu because someone and someone else – who have both been using email for at lease 10 years btw – have no email etiquette whatsoever.
#1 – Your email client default is ‘reply all’ or you are not adept at judging when an email is a communication to many people or a group conversation which requires dialog and replies from Zeus and country. You are a PIA for propagating poor behavior. And if your response is of a personal or sensitive nature you just made a clown/ jackass/idiot/pariah/_______ of yourself.
So stop.. just stop. Or don’t be surprised when people stop paying attention to you, giving your messages priority or answering you back at all – let alone picking up the phone to actually speak with you.