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Ten Common E-mail Mistakes

Friday, May 9th, 2008 by | Filed Under: E-Mail Help
 
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Q:
I’m new to e-mail, so I was wondering if you have a list of common mistakes people make when they’re e-mailing others. I want to make sure I’m doing everything correctly, so if you have any suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated!

A:
Oooh, good question! First of all, I’d like to welcome you to the world of e-mail! I think it’s great that you want to make sure you’re doing everything right when you’re e-mailing other people. It’s amazing how many people use incorrect e-mail etiquette on a daily basis, so I’m sure this tip will help several others as well. Below is a list of the 10 most common e-mail mistakes people make. Let’s check them out!

1.) Vague subject line: I don’t know about you, but when I get an e-mail, I always look at the subject line first to see what it’s about. The subject line is supposed to give you some basic details for what the e-mail is about and it gives you a reason to actually open the e-mail and read it. The subject line is especially important if you’re dealing with work related e-mails. Your co-workers probably get several e-mails everyday and if they don’t have a good subject line to go by, they may just skip past it and miss something important. The same goes if you’re e-mailing a friend or family member. Take some time to make the subject line perfect!

2.) No signature: It’s a good idea to include a signature at the bottom of all your e-mails. Otherwise, your recipients may not know who you are and they could by-pass your e-mail. Your signature should at least include your name and e-mail address. You can also include your physical address and phone number if you want to give your recipients more ways to contact you. You can follow this tip to learn how to create your own signature.

3.) Unclear message: I get e-mails all the time that have no clear message as to what they’re really about. When you send out an e-mail, make sure you use complete sentences, correct grammar and correct spelling. Also, take the time to really get your message across. If you don’t make what you want to say clear enough, your recipients will be left dazed and confused. Plus, they probably won’t bother replying to you, because they won’t know what to say in return!

4.) Rambling on: When you’re typing out an e-mail, it’s best to be short and to the point. While still making yourself clear, you should use short sentences and paragraphs. Just say what you need to say and be done with it. Unless you’re e-mailing a friend you haven’t talked to in years an update on your life, you don’t need to write a novel! Your recipients will better appreciate a clean, cut e-mail.

5.) SHOUTING: We’ve talked about this before, but I’ll say it again: don’t use all capital letters when typing out an e-mail. When you do that, it’s like you’re shouting at your recipient and they might not like that too much! So, before you start typing, make sure the Caps Lock key is turned off. That will make for a much nicer e-mail!

6.) Wrong tone: It’s hard to express your tone of voice over an e-mail, but you have to do your best with the way you write. For instance, if you’re trying to crack a joke to one of your friends, make sure they’ll take it the right way. Otherwise, you might end up offending them. Also, I know I told you to use short sentences, but don’t be too short with your recipients. If you are, they might take it the wrong way. If you think something will be interpreted the wrong way, it’s best just to leave it out.

7.) Too many attachments: Do you like to send attachments along with your e-mails? That’s all good and well, but if they’re too large, you may end up annoying your recipient more than anything. It’s hard to tell what type of Internet connection they will have or if their computer will even be able to handle a big file. If there’s any doubt in your mind, just don’t send it! Save your attachments only for the people who need them the most.

8.) Incorrect e-mail address: What’s the worst thing you can think of when dealing with e-mail? How about sending one to the wrong person? Yeah, that’s pretty bad! To prevent that from happening, you should always double check the recipient’s e-mail address before you send it off. Otherwise, it could end up going to the complete wrong person and that’s just no good at all!

9.) Mixing e-mail accounts: Do you ever use your work e-mail account to send your friends or family messages? If you do, you shouldn’t! It’s as plain and simple as that. Your work e-mail should only be used for work related issues and nothing more. Use your personal e-mail account for everything else.

10.) Too much e-mail: If you find yourself rambling on in an e-mail or if you’re afraid the message will get mixed up, you’re probably relying on e-mail too much. E-mails should be used for quick communication and if you have something more to say than that, you should probably just pick up the phone and call the person or talk to them face to face. Yes, e-mail is convenient and easy to use, but with certain things, it can be a little too much.

There you have it! The top 10 most common e-mail mistakes. If you have made some of these mistakes in the past, don’t feel bad. We’ve all done it, but at least you now know what you can do to correct them. Proper e-mail etiquette is very important and it will help you stay in good relations with all your e-mail buddies as well!

~ Erin

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