What We’ve Been Reading: Email Habits, the Good, the Bad, the Ugly Part 2

Last week’s edition of What We’ve Been Reading on email habits happened to resonate with a lot of our readers. Apparently, people love reading about terrible email habits! So, we spent the week searching for what else the internet has to offer, and here’s what we found. Enjoy!

The Cartwheel blog: CC: EVERYONE, break your bad email habits

Reply All

Please, before you Reply All, ask yourself, does everyone on this email need to know what I am about to say? Am I addressing everyone, or has this become a one on one conversation? Does everyone on this email even CARE? Probably not.

On the flip side, are you not including everyone when you should? How many separate emails are you sending about the same exact thing? If you work at a company like Cartwheel, or ANY company for that matter–you’re probably collaborating with a few people on projects. Don’t be afraid of Reply All, but don’t be greedy with it, either.

Scott H. Young: The 7 Bad E-Mail Habits that Make People Want to Kill You

2) Buried Requests

A buried request is where the question or actionable information is sandwiched between unimportant info. Consider the difference between these two e-mails:

Hi Bob, I’ve been considering your new proposal for adjusting the customer service policy. I think we should meet up and talk about it. Your proposal seems actionable, but I have a few concerns.

Compare to…

Hi Bob, I’ve been considering your new proposal for adjusting the customer service policy. I think we should meet up and talk about it. Your proposal seems actionable, but I have a few concerns.

When do you want to meet up?

In the first e-mail, the request is in the second sentence, buried away. In the second it is repeated and given a new paragraph. Which one do you think is easier to read?

Just Listed: Bad e-mail habits may send the wrong message

Misuse of the subject line: Including the terms “Urgent,” “Action Item,” or “Read Me” in the subject line “presumes her message is more important than any other correspondence you might have received. This perception is that she is over-confident and thinks very little of your time.” The same can be held true for over-using the priority flag on your e-mails to others.

Profound Impact6 Savvy Email Habits

Turn Off Your Notifiers. This is a great way to start taking charge of email. Your notifiers include any flashing lights and buzzers on your phone and your computer. I know this might sound a bit scary for some of you but I urge you to try it out for a day or two and just notice what happens. You are cutting the cord. You are breaking free from the neediness that email encourages. Break free today.

Divine Caroline: Five Nasty Email Habits Guaranteed to Make Everyone Hate You

5. Get bulk email with everyone’s email address in the “TO:” & “CC:” fields—and Reply to All.
Worse yet, say something short and stupid that no one really needed to see, like “Haha!” or “Noted.” That’ll really endear you to everyone. (NOT!)

Honestly, this whole Reply-All mentality I see so often in both casual and corporate communications is completely baffling to me. While there are occasions when it’s practical to send an email to a large group (for example, in the case of office announcements), it’s really not necessary to reply to everyone on the list.

And, as always, if you want to add your two cents, drop them in comments below!

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