Email detail

I seem to write or post about email management all the time.  I am sometimes called out for my bad habits too.  Last night I was mentoring on another topic and out came the email tips and tricks again.  So, let’s have another round of that favorite topic, email etiquette.

First things first – SLOW DOWN!

Email is not Chat!

Nothing is worse than using email as CHAT software.  Sure, before twitter and every other manner of near instant communication it was email that allowed us to reach out with the touch of a button.  Those days are gone!  If you want to send that, “Hi how you doing?” email, please twitter, sms, chat, fb, or anything else me before hitting the send button in email.  Please send NO emails that are a subject line and NO content.

Old Email Replies!

Don’t reply to an email you found from 3 years ago and ask me if I want to catch a movie or concert tonight.  First, there is or was content in that email, and now I am reading it and concerned I missed a deadline that is now 3 years old.  Take a moment, add me to your contacts, right click on the email and use the send new email feature, or simply compose a new email the old fashion way.  Type it out!  But DON”T send me another old email that makes no sense.

Change the subject line!

If you find you’re in a conversation with email.  And the subject line no longer represents the conversation, but you want to keep the thread.  Update the subject line!  You can () or {} or “” the old subject after the new one.  You can simply delete the old one.  Or you can end the dialog with a note to the others in the thread was stale.  You get two bonuses when you change a subject line.  Better search, and better attention from the recipients.  They freak out when a subject lines changes… often for the better.

Attachment meta data!

If you’re going to attach a file, and you are going to dictate all the changes you made to the attached file, that might be helpful.  I find that people changes a word document, and should have used track changes, add notes, or comment the file directly.  That way the information would be in one place in one file, and in the proper context.  It’s not good data management practice to separate the why from the what.  By putting all that very important info in the body of an email everyone loses the context of what changed were, they end up reading more than needed, and have to keep two documents now to express your intent.  Use the tools!

Don’t try to recall a message!

Ok, this is the best 0f all time and Microsoft is to blame!  They give you the recall this message feature in outlook.  You don’t know it will ONLY work in a corporate domain.  In other words… YOUR company and YOUR company alone.  What happens when you use this “feature” outside your company?

The person has your email already!  Then they get a message that says: “The user is attempting to recall this message”  HOW very nice of you to alert me.  Now what was that mistake???  Check out this link for more info on this problem… before you make it worse.

Last but not least… No subject line!

At least these days the systems prompt you before they send.  But honestly!  How is it some still hit send>>>????

For the record here are some interesting sites that offer great tips on emails too:

Writing effective E-Mail

E-Mail guidelines and etiquette

Business Email Etiquette 6



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