Monday, February 19, 2007

e-mail mistakes

We've been using e-mail now for many years, and we think we know what we're doing, right? Perhaps, but judging from the e-mails I watch come across my server, I'm not so sure. Here's a list of top ten e-mail mistakes.

  1. Failing to spellcheck. Did you know most e-mail programs can be quickly spellchecked prior to sending with one click of a button? If your program isn't set up for spellcheck, get help! E-mails are still considered "business" communications and are subject to grammar and punctuation rules just like more formal business communications.
  2. Disseminating important policy via e-mail. If it's important enough for employees to read and follow, it should be placed in a formal document and attached so that employees can download and save the attachment. This also helps strengthen the formality of your policies and procedures.
  3. Sending e-mails too hastily. Re-read your e-mail and have others vet important communications before you send them!
  4. Failing to use gender-neutral language. Most people are generally upset when "left out" in the gender category.
  5. Sending an e-mail to the wrong recipient! Be sure that who you send the e-mail to is the intended recipient, especially if the e-mail contains confidential information.
  6. Don't ask for "read receipts" since this can annoy already annoyed, busy individuals.
  7. Don't copy unnecessary readers. Target your e-mail only to those who truly require the information you're providing.
  8. Straying from the topic. Don't wander all over the place with several, unrelated subjects.
  9. Using unprofessional language. Slang and profanity are out of place in all business communications.
  10. Awkward communications. If your e-mail is truly important to your organization or it's a topic that you use again and again to send to prospective clients, consider a professional writer, who can edit or hone your message to its most critical points.

1 comment:

George said...

I would add this: Using e-mail for a mission-critical external communication without confirming receipt.

Spam is such a problem for many, that your email may get missed if buried in the middle of a bunch of spam, or it may be filtered out automatically by a spam filter.

For the same reason, use explicit subject lines like "Draft E-mail Policy From Insurance Copywriter." (Not "information you requested")