Please Don't Send Me Business eMails Like These
by Susan Dunn
These are my pet peeves about emails. They're everyone else's pet peeves too, according to a recent survey I just conducted.
1. No subject line. I get tons of email every day and I need a clue.
2. Wrong date, wrong time. It usually makes a big difference. Check your own computer and check the company's server.
3. Incorrectly written. No punctuation, all small letters, grammatical mistakes, typos all slow me down. My mind is going "wrong!" while I'm trying to read for content. It makes me wonder about the education of the sender, but that's really secondary to the brain-split it causes.
5. Over-zealous use of graphics. They make me lose my focus. I love them; but not for business.
6. Offputting tone. Blunt and brusque is offputting, but so is flowery and tentative, or ponderous and halting. Be concise, brief and to the point while also mannerly. Most of all--be clear. I'm as busy as you are.
7. Links that don't link.
8. Attraction-getting quirkiness. One person who writes me puts all the messages beneath what I sent. Most people just don't do that, and it interrupts my flow.
9. Attachment abuse. Unlabeled multiple attachments are something I just don't need. Make it easy for me!
10. Um, boundary violations. As a solopreneur, my email is private now--well, relatively--but it never was at work. Comments like, "How's your nerdy boss?" aren't appreciated.
13. Emotional spillage. The best thing about writing is that you have time to reflect, so please do. Think before you write if you're angry, displeased, or even enthusiastic and get back to your constant-state. Have the courtesy to put some thought into your reply.
14. "Don't 'cry wolf.'" I receive emails from one colleague that are always marked "urgent." After the 3rd one I received that was merely routine, I disregarded his "urgent" signals. Do you want this to happen to you?
Other people are as busy as you are and appreciate anything you do to expedite reading emails. If you're unsure about your email writing, work with a coach, or get feedback from a trusted colleague. Pleeeze.
(c)Susan Dunn, WebStrategies, http://www.webstrategies.cc
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