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The Rules of Emailing

Emailing, Know the Rules
(Photo by: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

It seems that most of our communication these days is via email, text messaging, instant messaging and so on.  Think about it.  How many times do you pick up the phone compared to the number of messages you send through some sort of technology.  Even my outgoing voice mail message says that text messages and emails are answered quicker than leaving a voice mail.  That doesn’t mean every message you send is going to get an immediate response though.  I just love when someone says, “I sent you a message about this.”  Keep in mind that just because you hit the send button that doesn’t mean the recipient has read the message.

Here are just a few emailing habits that are very annoying.

Clicking “send” too fast:  Take a minute to re-read every e-mail before you send it so you can fix typos and spelling errors and insert missing words. Don’t be lazy.  Especially in business, you will be judged on any boo-boos.

Unnecessary cc’ing and forwarding:  You want everyone, especially the boss, to know that you are actually working hard, but copying them on every e-mail you send is irritating and screams that you are passive-aggressive!  Also, be careful about forwarding chain e-mails and jokes.  Not everyone has time to read jokes and jokes with attachments may be infected with a virus.

Getting in the last word:  I have heard of  the “Rule of Three” which says if it takes more than three e-mails to get something worked out, it’s better to call.  I’m a violator, I don’t follow this rule.  One thing I do agree with though, don’t feel compelled to send an e-mail just to say “thank you” or other short messages that do not have significant content.  It just clutters e-mail boxes and runs batteries down.

E-mailing on the go:  Sending e-mail from your smart phone during meetings, dinners and driving is rude and dangerous.  Now this is clearly one of those do as I say, not as I do moments.  I’m super bad about multi-tasking.  Some may say it sends the message that you’ve tuned out which is probably the truth.

Hitting Reply ALL:  Don’t waste every one’s time with your ranting, jokes or unnecessary garble.  Just reply to the person or people that really need the information.

FWD: FWD: FWD: FWD:   Take the “FWD” out of the subject line and delete all of the previous messages with all of the email addresses.  Otherwise the person receiving the message may think it is not important information.

Capitalization:  Do not capitalize your subject line and/or the message otherwise IT SEEMS LIKE YOU ARE YELLING!!!  Oh, and don’t overuse that poor exclamation point.

Last week I was in a waiting room typing away on my smart phone trying to get caught up on different things; important matters.  I heard a woman say something about telegraphs.  I was obviously busy but she kept talking.  Turns out she was talking to me and comparing what I was doing to “the days of telegraphs.”  She had no cellphone in hand.  She had one though.  She said she usually forgot to turn it on and often left it at home.  From one extreme to the other.  It made me realize that while there are many things tech-enhanced people may do to irritate others, there is also something that the tech-challenged folks need to keep in mind:  Do not interrupt –  Just as you would not interrupt someone talking on the phone, do not interrupt someone that is typing a message.

Do you have anything you want to add to the list?

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