by Steve Laube
Like you, I have a love-hate relationship with email.
I love it because it allows for quick and easy communication.
I hate it because the flood in the inbox can be overwhelming.
(I also get irritated with that hyphen, or lack thereof! email or e-mail?)
A “solution” may be at hand! Some pretty smart folks have created “The Email Charter.” Please do yourself a favor, click this link to The Email Charter, read it, and see if some of its suggestion can make a difference.
Then come back here write a comment telling us what you think.
I thought this was great–posted it on my wall on fb. I think the biggest thing is people should understand that short and sweet doesn’t mean rude or you’re not worth my time. I’ll also admit to being a person who has to have the last response–or I’m afraid someone will think I’m rude. Oh, the unending quest to be unoffensive to everyone! 🙂
Same here, Kathy! Here is the deal that bugs me most. I belong to a bunch of email loops and the thing is that so many people say stuff like great, thanks, and praying that say pretty much nothing but they imply that if I don’t do the same then somehow I don’t care. But I still don’t respond. Once in awhile I may post something like… If you don’t hear from me much it’s not that I don’t care about all the successes and needs, I simply don’t have time to respond to everything. Then I don’t seem like such an unfriendly lout. Now if those other folks wouldn’t all respond with fairly meaningless comments that would help. But some people can’t resist. Sigh.
This is great! And I all ready follow most of the suggestions (most of the time).
The early adopters may receive some resistance for some of the items (such as #2 and #8), but once more people get on board, it will all be good.
(By the way, for me it is definitely “email.”)
Excellent tips! I also opt out of most e-mail notifications from social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Yahoo Loops. I prefer to have a bookmarked link to these sites and check them once or twice a day. This alone greatly cut down on my e-mails!
I agree with most of these points, but this is a pet peeve of mine:
“…it’s OK…if they don’t give detailed responses to all your questions.”
No, it’s not okay! Nothing is more frustrating than saving up several questions in the interest of NOT filling up someone’s inbox, and then only getting the answer to one or two of the questions in the reply! Then I’m forced to write back re-asking a question I NEED an answer to (or I wouldn’t have asked!)
I’ve found it helps if I enumerate the questions 1., 2., etc. and use “4 questions” as the subject line.
And alas, re e-mail vs. email, Chicago Manual of Style’s 16th edition says it has a hyphen. : (
Thank you, I’m so glad to have learned number 8, it is so practical!
I had a famous man once tell me he couldn’t answer my question because he gets 137 emails a day.
And he seriously thought that was a lot! He was talking to the then PR officer for ACFW. I bit my tongue. My high days were often over 500 and yes, I began cutting back on email 🙂
I agree with these suggestions. But the hard part is knowing someone received an email and will act on it, or not. So I do prefer an acknowledgement of receipt. Too often the email landed in the spam or trash bin and the receiving party didn’t know.
Excellent post! I don’t care what CMS says, I save a keystroke by dropping the hypen and writing “email.”
I’ve learned to turn off email while I’m writing. Nothing is so urgent that it can’t wait a few hours. Read email in the morning. Turn it off, check at lunch, turn it off, etc.
For the most part this was good advice but since I speed read almost everything I don’t really notice the extra time. If I get half way through an e-mail and it is not “speaking to me” then the “DELETE” key is always at hand.
The two things I did like were:
6. Tighten the Thread
The only time I allow more than 3 e-mails on the thread is if it is official correspondence with a business or a lawyer. I always keep lawyer e-mails completely intact for chronological reference later.
7. Attack Attachments
I only attach pictures or other files if they are absolutely necessary to the understanding of the text portion of the message. If there is a small graphic that needs to be included, learn to insert it as part of the text portion instead of making it an attachment. Attachments are irritating!
Basically I agree with the charter. But ALL questions DO need to be answered or they wouldn’t have been asked.
My day job is in a small print shop. An e-mail typically contains suggested changes on a proof and specifications re: color of ink, paper, and quantity. All these questions need specific answers. If a client fails to answer even one of them, we have just doubled the e-mail load.
I agree with Deb and Judith — all questions should be answered.
But some of these others are really good. I have one person who regularly answers my “thank you” emails with “you’re welcome.” I know it’s probably motivated out of a desire to be polite, but with email (I’m sorry, I’m not putting the hyphen in unless it’s a formal piece of writing) such a response is irritating!