BE IN THE KNOW

November 07 2013

Are You Making Any of These Big Email Mistakes?

By David McMillin

email etiquette

According to recent statistics, the world sends nearly 145 billion emails each day. As you read this, you’ll probably hear the ding of your Outlook folder or feel the buzz of your phone with the arrival of one of those messages. Email is a valuable communication channel, but it can also be easily abused. Take a look at these common mistakes to make sure you’re staying on your best email behavior.

1)  Inviting Too Many Cooks in The Electronic Kitchen.

CC may officially stand for “Carbon Copy”, but in many cases, it could just as easily signify “Creating Confusion.” While it can be tempting to make sure that each member of the team is in-the-know, all those CC’ed messages can pile up. There is no need to invite every person you know to be part of every conversation. Be sure to include those who are directly affected by the discussion.

SEE ALSO: Why You Should Break Up With Your Email

2)  Immediately Following Up.

Issue: the recipient hasn’t responded within 10 minutes.

Correction: that’s not an issue. While it can be tempting to follow up with a phone call or text to make sure that your email wasn’t lost in the cyber-space, allow plenty of time before checking in to confirm receipt. 

3)  Marking Your Messages With the !! Distinction. 

It’s no secret that plenty of emergencies happen in the meetings industry. However, it can be easy to abuse the “urgent” designation. Be sure to think twice before selecting the high-priority flag. If coworkers begin to see too many of them, they won’t be able to know when a matter truly warrants their immediate attention.

SEE ALSO: The Big Problem With Email Etiquette 

4)  Arranging Out-of-Office Replies Every Time You Leave the Office. 

People go to lunch. People go to meetings. People have priorities. If you’re out of the office for an afternoon, it’s okay to skip the auto-reply message. If you’ll be away from your email for a prolonged period of time, then it’s time to inform senders that they should expect a delayed response.

5)  Forwarding a Mile-Long Email Trail.

“See below.”

If you’re just looping someone into an ongoing conversation, that “below” might include a lengthy back-and-forth exchange. Rather than asking the new team member to decipher a small novel, give him or her a quick background to avoid confusion and reduce their reading load.

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