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10 Biggest Email Pet Peeves of 2013

If you knew that a habit of yours annoyed people around you, would you continue doing the annoying behavior?

Yes, I wish that was a rhetorical question! It amazes me that intelligent, kind-hearted people think that because they are the ones doing the annoying thing, that the thing is no longer annoying.

Take “Cheers” for example. During my workshops, Cheers and Ciao are always brought up by someone in the group, as sounding inauthentic, unless of course it’s a Brit writing or an email from an Italian counterpart. As soon as one person mentions it, the head bobs begin. (And if they mention one without the other, someone else shouts out, and also…)

It doesn’t matter that you like it if it is a distraction to the other person!

Here is a list of the 10 Biggest Pet Peeves that even you might want to eliminate, in no special order, compiled over the past 6 months:

1. No hello. Or worse, “Hey”.
Hi Bob doesn’t take that long and it starts the email with a friendly tone.

2. One, two or three word responses. “Okay” “Will do.” “This might work”
What will you do? You aren’t being charged for by the word, so you forget the telegram speak. And really, how much time are you saving? You know you’ll just play a game of email ping pong if you aren’t more clear the first time.

3. Getting an email that ends with: Your thoughts?
More likely, you’d like the other person’s approval, recommendation or deadline. Ask for what you want so the other person can give it to you.

4. The never changing subject line
An email with the subject line, Thanksgiving schedule, that is still circulating even though the topic has morphed 12 billion times (or so) is helping no one file, archive or find.

5. Multiple question marks
The only way a recipient can interpret ??? is: WTF (What the fish?). I guess if you’re asking, Are you pregnant??? that could be an exception. Or maybe not.

6. Omitting a complete signature line.
Popping open 12 emails to find a phone number to call is as much fun as drinking coffee grounds. Yes, of course, your phone number should be in their phone/data base. But what if it isn’t?

7. Keeping the thread going and going and going and …
Clean the thread. Inevitably, there is something in the thread that you don’t want someone to read or remember and you can count on Murphy’s Law kicking in. Everyone else will ignore the thread but not that person.

8. Using email to make others look stupid
Yes. You’re right. Charlie and Charlene are wrong. Telling them they’re wrong and copying Diane and Debbie and Dan won’t make you look smart.

9. Using email when a phone call would save oh so much time
It takes courage to talk with another person rather than hide behind an email. Besides,they know what you’re doing.

10. Emails that are complete in the subject line without any indication
People go berserk about this one! It’s not that the message is in the subject line, it’s that you made them take the nanosecond to open the email – you tricked them! – and they wasted their precious time. Okay, maybe they’re wrong but if you annoy the very person that you need to do what you want, guess who is wrong! Either type (end of message) after your message or if you think they won’t know what EOM means, type ” Thanks so much!” on the inside of the email so you at least give them something pleasant to read.

What would you add to this list?

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