4 E-mail Behaviors You Want to Avoid
July 28, 2011
You might be unintentionally sending the wrong messages on your e-mails by the way you send or respond to them. Forbes.com recently highlighted several bad e-mail behaviors that can be a turnoff to the recipient of your messages. Here are four e-mail offenses to watch for:
1. Don’t fake urgency with your subject line. You want to get the other person to read the e-mail so you might use phrases in the subject line, like “Urgent,” “Action Item,” or “Read Me,” or use the high priority flag marker to get attention. But your messages may soon become “the boy who cried wolf” if you constantly send e-mails that are marked important but truly lack critical importance. In other words, your messages are actually less likely to get read. Not to mention, you might also be sending the message that you consider your messages to always be more important than the person’s other messages, which can be a real turnoff to some.
2. Give the person time to respond. Don’t call or e-mail right away to make sure someone received your message. You’ll appear impatient. If you need an instant response to a message, the best move is to pick up the phone in the first place.
3. Don’t have an auto response for every message. Setting an auto response that goes out whenever you receive an e-mail can give you extra time to respond and reassure others that their message is important to you. But when setting an auto response to every e-mail you receive, others may start viewing you as condescending.
4. Start a new e-mail chain for messages. Pressing the “reply” button to an old e-mail chain to keep all correspondence in one place seems like a good idea but, according to the Forbes article, it can actually send the message that you are “lazy, disorganized, or have poor e-mail sorting habits.” Instead, when e-mailing a customer, start a new e-mail chain that reflects an appropriate subject line whenever a new issue is being discussed, the article suggests.
Source: “10 E-mail Habits That Send the Wrong Message,” Forbes (July 2011)
Updated: July 31, 2020