We all lead busy lives and a clogged e-mail inbox is an annoyance. While we have all been guilty of occasional e-mail thoughtlessness, maybe others have good reason to roll their eyes when they receive your e-mail. Consider these points:
- Respect my time. Unbelievably, I’m not sitting at my computer breathlessly waiting to receive e-mails from you.
- Do you really need to send the e-mail in the first place? If you tell me about the content of the link or article during a conversation, don’t clog up my mailbox with a link to the story (unless I ask).
- Know your audience. If you know my general interests, don’t send me something that is completely off-the-wall in terms of my scope of interest as you know it (just because you find it interesting.)
- Are you sure I haven’t seen it? Chances are high that what you are sending has been covered in article after article on the topic.
- Why are you sending me this article or link? If you send an article or a link to an article, add a sentence or two stating what particular point you want me to focus on. My time is limited; tell me the angle or nugget of information I should be looking for, or I’m likely to skip reading completely. (See #1, #2, #3 and #4 above). Note: sending from an iPhone or iPad does not exempt you from this point.
- Frequency. The less frequently I hear from you via e-mail, the more I sit up and take note of what you send. Because then I know you value my time and what you have to say is on point and most especially, your e-mail is something I should take my time to read. (obviously, working on a project or work matter does not necessarily apply here. But it might.)
- One of the biggest complaints we hear from people is about their mailbox being clogged with jokes, quotes, and political items. Please, be the person that only sends the occasional gem, not the person who forwards every. single. item. It gets old. Real old.
- Check before passing it on! Remember, not everything you read or receive is true or accurate. Check before you forward. My favorites are: Truth or Fiction and Urban Legends from About.com.
- Sending to a large group? Annoyance #238 is when the e-mail has a half-page of recipients. If you want to send to a large group of people, put the e-mail address in the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) field, not the To: or CC: field. When the e-mail is received, the recipient sees only their name, not the list of people you sent it to. And if you must forward an e-mail, please delete that half-page of previous recipients.
- When in doubt: don’t send.
You are not exempt, you are not the exception, and you don’t get a pass. We hear from countless people about how their frequent flyers seem incapable of taking hints. It’s time. Take the hint.