Four Quick Tips to Improve Email—and Work Relationships
Poor email habits are at best annoying to the recipient and at worst—a work relationship killer. Think about the last time someone really made you mad at work—chances are it started with an email or a reply to one or someone cc’d someone as an act of aggression. Poorly constructed, curt, rude emails and accidental/inappropriate-sharing-of-content emails have become the norm, not the exception.
“I just love being cc’d on everything! “ Said no one ever!
Here are four tips to make sure you are not inadvertently harming your relationships at work with your email habits:
- Slow down and double-check before you send: Always take a moment to check the spelling and content and context of your email in addition to making sure the intended name is in the “To” field. As for context, read it out loud. In that two extra seconds, you can head off potential conflict as people often misinterpret the meaning of certain words. If you do not have spell-check set up on your e-mail, add it right now! Hello Grammarly! Also, be sure to check that you are attaching the correct and most recent attachment. Sending the wrong prices or the wrong version of your resume reflects poorly on your professionalism because it is such an easy catch if you just check.
- Rethink the CC/BCC: Ask yourself this question: Is this e-mail completely relevant to the person on (CC) or (BCC)? If used judiciously, the CC or BCC can be a useful tool in today’s business environment. But overused, it is simply annoying and will cease to get the recipients’ attention and potentially make you appear to be politically motivated in your work habits.
- Do you really need to REPLY TO All? Same as #2 above. I personally think reply-all should be outlawed-it’s unnecessary email traffic. When you reply all, it should be because every single person on that list NEEDS to see your reply.
- When there is conflict—Pick. Up. The. Phone: If you feel very strongly about something, pick up the phone to say it or schedule a time to see the person face-to-face. Email is not the right avenue for resolving conflict. On the contrary, the speed of it creates an exaggerated potential for misinterpretation and can add to the conflict or even cause it. Think twice before you send that snippy response; the momentary satisfaction you feel from hitting SEND is probably not worth the dent you will make in your reputation/relationships as a professional.
“Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you.”
–John De Paola