Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Biggest E-Mail Sin

What is The Biggest E-Mail Sin?

Let's consider some nominees.

  1. Copying people on e-mails that are of remote or no interest to them.
  2. Keeping the same subject line even though the actual message has significantly changed.
  3. Promising to share part of the fortune that you inherited in the Ivory Coast.
  4. Replying to All when you meant to hit Reply.
  5. Not checking spelling.
  6. Not checking the tone.
  7. Using e-mail for a sensitive topic.
  8. Forwarding an e-mail that was meant only for you.
  9. E-mailing jests of dubious wit.
  10. Using an e-mail address that is unprofessional.

What have I missed?


estebanf said...

I would add:
11.- Assume that email can replace face to face communication

Let me take the opportunity to thank you for your time and effort writing keeping up this blog. I read all your posts using Google reader and even if I don’t usually make comments, I can most of the time find valuable insights in your blog.

Take care,

Anonymous said...

#8 runs rampant at my office. Good post.

Anonymous said...

I realize this may be covered by #1 and #9 - but I'm getting darn sick of the forwarded jokes and especially political wit. As Bob Newhart once said in one of his skits - "Just Stop It!"

Michael Wade said...


Good addition and many thanks for reading.


Aargh. There appears to be no privacy to any e-mail message.


Most of the political wit I see isn't very witty. Instead of a Reply button, we need a Spare Me one.

Larry Sheldon said...

I have two additions....

Given a team of five people, send an email about something important[1]to two[2], CC two[3] and omit one[4].
[1] Maximize damage: ask for input.
[2] Maximize damage: the two males.
[3] Maximize damage: the females.
[4] Maximize damage: the "minority".

Assume that everybody reading email can see your facial expressions and hand motions, is familiar with all of your biases and bigotries, and is having the same kind of day you are.

Unknown said...

I think that # 6 causes the most problems, although many of the others are more frequent annoyances. I would add "not cc'ing people who need to know that you have communicated." I do this sometimes and then wonder why people can't read my mind.

Great post. Keep up the good work.

Kurt Harden said...

Attempting to solve a problem using email. Takes twice the time as a call or quick meeting.

J said...

I would add, sending every email marked as "High Importance". To me, it's parallel to the story of the boy who cried wolf. Every email message can't possibly be that critical. I've grown tired of seeing that red exclamation mark that I've removed that column from my inbox.

cha0tic said...

Assuming that the recipient is sitting at their desk all day just waiting for the 'You've got mail' flag to pop up from you. Or has a push e-mail device.
I pick up e-mail once, maybe twice a day. If it's *that* urgent phone me. I might be in the middle of a load in, or a muddy field. even if you push the e-mail to my mobi' their's probably fuck all I can do about it until I get back to my 'puter anyway.