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Email Etiquette - Before Hitting Send

Below are some tips to keep in mind before hitting the "send" button for an email message.

1 - Respect your recipients' time.

The onus is on the sender to minimize the time e-mail takes to process.

2 - Give some leeway.

It's OK if replies take a while to come back and if the responder doesn't give detailed responses to all your questions.

3 - Be clear.

Start with a subject line that clearly describes the topic.  If the e-mail is longer than five sentences, provide your reason for writing in the first line.

4 - Avoid open-ended questions.

Don't send a four-paragraph e-mail followed by "Thoughts?"  Even well intended open questions like "How can I help?" may not be that helpful.

5 - Slash surplus CCs.

CCs are like mating bunnies.  For every recipient you add, you are dramatically multiplying total response time.

6 - Tighten the thread.

It's rare that an e-mail thread should extend to more than three e-mails.

7 - Attack attachments.

Don't use graphics files as logos or signatures that appear as attachments, and don't send text as an attachment when it could have been included in the body of the e-mail.

8 - Cut contentless responses.

A response saying "Thanks for your note...i'm in" does not call for you to reply "Great."  That just cost someone another 30 seconds.

9 - Disconnect.

If we all agreed to spend less time e-mailing, we'd all get less e-mail!