Email is a critical tool both in business and social settings. It is an efficient method of conveying simple information to one or more parties quickly and with minimal interruption to the receiving party. That said, email is so badly abused that it has become the bane of many a workday. To avoid this hazard, here’s a list of dos and don’ts.
Do: Send an email containing specific information (eg. Total sales this month were $30,000.)
Do: Use proper grammar in your emails and avoid the abbreviations so often used in text messages (eg. OTOH, LOL, BTW, etc.).
Do: Copy in only those who truly need to know the contents of the email.
Do: Attach relevant items that support your email such as spreadsheets, documents, pictures, etc.
Do: Request a read receipt on critical emails and only from recipients who must see the email.
Do: Request specific information from a recipient.
Don’t: Include unsolicited opinions in your email.
Don’t: CC people who do not need the information in your email (ie. Your boss will not be impressed that you put new toilet paper in the bathroom. She also doesn’t need confirmation that you have spoken to HR about an error in your paycheck.)
Don’t: Get into arguments via email (in my firm this was a cardinal sin). At even the slightest hint of a disagreement, either pick up the phone or have the discussion in person.
Don’t: Send long rambling emails. Remember, ‘just the facts ma’am’.
Don’t: Forward cute pictures of kittens using your work email. In fact, since I am a dog person, never forward cute pictures of kittens (sorry, had to throw that one in). Work email should be used for work related purposes, and that’s it.
Allen Friedman is the owner and CEO of Techaerus LLC, an office efficiency consulting firm. He is also a licensed attorney. Allen founded and managed one of the largest consumer collections law firms in the country and managed over 50 attorneys as well as hundreds of non-attorney staff. Prior to founding that firm, he opened and managed the New York and Michigan operations for the largest consumer collections firm in the United States. Throughout his career, Allen has always placed great emphasis on ensuring that investments in office technology provide the greatest possible returns. In order to achieve these returns, he focuses on three pillars of office management; asset management, training, and automation. His expertise includes document/image management, software and hardware integration, training, and process management and automation. Allen lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with his wife Amy, his children Cassidy and Gideon, and two adorable dogs named Roxie (a labradoodle) and Bentley (an Old English Sheepdog).