One of my favorite LinkedIn writers is Jeff Haden who recently posted a blog by Dr. Travis Bradbury. It was called Five Emails You Send Every Day. Dr. Bradbury nailed it! He inspired me to create my own list albeit while simultaneously incorporating some of his brilliant thoughts.
Email success amounts to certainty my written communication is received in the spirit intended. Ironically the less words I use, the greater likelihood I have of ensuring that. When it comes to writing bad emails, I have the misfortune of being able to speak more authoritatively than I’m proud to say since I have penned a number of them and have experienced the fallout.
As the result of many forehead slaps, I present The Five Worst Emails That I’m no Longer Sending:
1) Replying with overly brief responses. Brevity is my friend most of the time except when responding to someone else’s long-winded email. As much as I’d like to reply “Confirmed,” I have found that doing so can be misinterpreted as rudeness. Simply appending my brief remark with “Thanks for taking the time to share this” has the effect of acknowledging the verbosity while taking advantage of the luxury of being succinct.
2) Reply All. I have one rule: Only do so when express permission is requested by the Sender. This almost never happens, therefore it’s rarely warranted. Expressing “Thanks!” to a group message is rarely worth the bother.
3) Reply All Without Permission, aka Reply All’s Evil Sibling. This is the email that you send to one person without anticipating the recipient will forward your email to a group of others without your permission. Now a potentially hastily and sloppy communication is out there for all to see and scrutinize despite your having intended it for one person only. There’s nothing worse than reading your own privately intended communication with your colleagues cc’d because someone was too lazy to paraphrase.
4) Embellishing the written word. This includes bold font, or scripted font, emoticons, or worst of all varying font colors. Say what you have to say and be succinct. Fancy or flashing fonts-detract from the message. And although the author of the famous quote is attributed to many, the message is relevant and timeless, “If I had more time I would have written a shorter letter.”
5) Urgent Emails. Isn’t that an oxymoron? If it’s urgent, pick up the phone or text the message. Nothing worse than finally opening email at the end of a busy day only to discover you missed you missed the emergency.