It’s not like email is new.
You’d think as a culture we’d be proficient at this particular form of communication. Yet, it is often rated as one of the biggest time wasters.
According to productivity experts, here are a few email “no-nos” that annoy everyone:
— Using ALL CAPS in the subject line. All caps are the internet equivalent of shouting. According to research, using all caps in your subject line does NOT move you to the front of your recipient’s inbox line, contrary to what you might think. In fact, it dramatically reduces response.
If your email is urgent, consider adding a deadline in the subject, or more about WHY it’s urgent, such as including phrases like “Approval Needed” or “Signature Needed.”
— Unclear subject lines. “Hey” simply doesn’t cut it. If you want eyes on your email, it’s always better to make it clear what the email is about.
BONUS TIP: In group emails, if the subject of the conversation shifts, edit the subject of your reply to reflect this.
This will also make it easier to find the thread later.
— Not using CC or BCC. Using cc and bcc are great ways to communicate info all on their own. “Cc” means you’re being kept “in the loop,” but no action or reply is needed (at least not from you), whereas “bcc” makes you the proverbial fly on the wall and signals that your presence is truly hush-hush.
— Writing too much or too little. Experts say it’s crucial to give your message the gravity it deserves. Best not to cut corners or exclude important details merely for the sake of keeping things short and sweet. But you also don’t want to write a 3,000-word novel if you just want to grab lunch!
— Not closing with a “thank you.” A short expression of gratitude shows people you appreciate their attention in the matter at hand. It’s been shown that even as little as adding a “thanks” or “thanks in advance” can get you more and higher quality responses.
— Expecting an immediate response. An email is not a text message. When emailing cohorts about anything non-urgent, be sure to give them the right amount of leeway before expecting their answer.
That does it for this week.
Follow our cautionary guide, and you’ll quickly up your email game.
Stephen Bach is the owner and chief of surgery at The Digital Docs in Marblehead.