It isn’t news that common sense isn’t that common. But when it comes to email, it’s the exception.

Here are three aggravating habits that drive your colleagues and clients crazy:

1. The Disappearing Act
When they want something from you, first you get a terse email request. Then an email demand. Then a really annoyed email telling you they’ve emailed you twice already.

But when you need something from them, they disappear. Regardless of how professional, persuasive, caring and respectful you are, no response is forthcoming. Except when they’re ready. And usually that happens when they once again need something from you.

Tip: Don’t disappear! It’s easy. Just let people know when they can count on hearing from you. It takes less than 30 seconds (wait, I’m timing this) to respond:
Thanks for asking! You can count on a full response by Thursday (when I can see light again).
Ten seconds (if you leave off the light comment).

2. The One-Word Wonder
You spend an hour – or way more – writing an important, detailed email and your recipient (usually your “leader”) answers:

Tip: Be grateful you got a response and aren’t working with the disappearing act!

They aren’t likely to change so:
Ask your questions at the beginning of the email (the only part they’re reading).
Bold your specific question (make sure you are being specific) at the beginning of each paragraph or subhead.
Send short one-idea, one-question emails with clear subject lines.

3. The Disaster
This person writes emails but doesn’t re-read them before sending. Filled with typos (that are actually often pretty funny… cream of crap [cream of crab], Hell Sue), you feel disrespected and annoyed. Clearly, they either think their emails are so awful that they can’t stand to re-read them (but you should take the time to read them) or they really don’t care about your time. If they did, they wouldn’t ask you to figure out what they meant.

Tip: Compile a list of their stupid mistakes and I’ll post them to my Email Wall of Shame: You can do better than this <>. And then we tag them. 🙂

Email etiquette is more important now than ever. With almost 85% of our business communications virtual, colleagues and clients make quick judgements that are really hard to undo.

PS. Do not say or write “Happy Memorial Day!” You’re welcome. 🙂

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