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5 Common Email Blunders to Side Step

January 05 2011

apple hit by arrow 200pxIt should go without saying: coherency is key. But again and again, we’re missing the mark when it comes to emails. It happens. You feel rushed, you want to reply quickly, too many thoughts are happening at once…

A good habit is proofreading before sending – the e-equivalent of thinking before speaking. When you do, look for these 5 common email blunders:

1. Ambiguous or Lengthy Subject Lines

Not good: Revisions

Not good: My comments regarding the document received from Bill last week

Good: Acme proposal revisions

2. TMI (Too much information)

Not deep dark secrets (though you should probably keep those out too), but unnecessary info. The stuff that leaves recipients wading through the muck to get to the core.

Good: We would like green headers.

Not good: We want something consistent with our branding that looks good with the surrounding colors, fonts, etc., so after much deliberation we’ve decided to go with green and would like this to be the color used for the headers.


3. No Contact Info

This should be obvious, but it keeps popping up. If you’re asking someone to call you, include your phone number.

On a related note, some people might not immediately look at your signature. If your phone number is there, include a note like, “please use the number in my signature.”



4. Missing CTA (call to action)

What do you want your recipients to do? Is this just an fyi, or is there an action to take? Clarify.

5. Too many people

Does everyone on the list need to receive it? Pass on some email karma by helping others keep their inboxes clear.

Also make use of BCC. Anyone who only needs to receive it as an fyi, and can be spared the reply-alls, put in BCC.

When working with a group, or even one-on-one, but across company boundaries, coherency is key to getting things done.