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10 reasons you are an email PIA

Oct 14, 2011 / Professional Development / Trackback

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 orem­bar­rass­mentof, or to the detri­ment of oth­ers. I like to be a rebel not the vil­lage idiot andI 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 con­fi­den­tial­cor­re­spon­dence. 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 apen­ny­forevery timeI 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/_______ ofyourself.

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.


Ok, now I know what a PIA is and I wish I knew how to blind cc, but I would rarely use it if I did.