10 No-Brainer Email Rules

Time to brush up on some email standards.

10 No-Brainer Email Rules

1. Always check the TO: box on an email before you click SEND.

I can't tell you how many people have suffered embarrassment and worse from sending an email to the wrong person. What's worse? An author bitching about her editor or agent or another author and inadvertently sending that email to the subject of the bitching. Oh, yeah. It's happened. A lot.

2. Especially in a FORWARD, check the TO box of the email.

It's easy to make a mistake and hard for the recipient to forget.

3. Never put anything in an email that you wouldn't want published on the front page of the newspaper your parents' read.

Yeah, we all get upset and vent, but never leave a paper trail for that vent. Get on the phone and call your BFF if you need to vent.

4. Never defame a peer, a boss, or anyone who can negatively affect your career in an email.

You'd be surprised how many times something like that gets shared in forums and eventually followed to the person you defamed.

4. Never spread rumors or lies in an email.

That's cyber bullying, and it's reprehensible.

5. Create an accurate SUBJECT for your email so it will not end up in the spam folder.

Specific email subjects get read, not ignored or deleted.

6. Do not make the SUBJECT a post.

Have you ever got an email with sentences in the SUBJECT. It's really annoying, right?

7. Do not use a Signature that's too big.

I've seen emails where the Signature file is 50 words or more.

Come on! About 4 or 6 short lines is sufficient–a courteous closing if you wish, your name, and a couple of URL's or book title and URL.

8. Make your emails interesting so they get read.

Boring emails get skimmed, often with the recipient not grasping the content very well.

9. If the email is important, request a READ Receipt.

Please don't set up every single email requiring a READ Receipt. That's just annoying.

10. If you're emailing a response to a Yahoo Groups, always remember that many people who subscribe to these lists are on Digest.

Never hit REPLY and copy the entire Digest with your reply. Snip out the part you're replying to and paste it into your response.

Takeaway Truth

Staying on top of email is a skill. It's like processing snail mail. Try to "handle" it only once by answering it or sticking it in a folder if you need more info to answer. Then get it done within 48 hours if possible.

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