|Don't Make These 6 Common Email Mistakes
Whether you're composing an email from scratch, replying, or forwarding, it's worth a few minutes of your time to check your message before sending it.
Here are some common mistakes that I have not only seen but have also committed:
There are certainly many more possible email mistakes than these, including poor writing, inappropriate use of CC and Reply All, as well as times when a phone call or in-person meeting would be more appropriate than an email.
- Wrong recipient: This can easily happen if your email software lets you type a few letters and then suggests people from your address book. Typing "mar" might insert the address for "Marisa" instead of "Martin," so pay close attention to make sure your email goes to the right person.
- Poor subject: Don't leave the Subject empty, don't just write "From me," and (at the other extreme) don't type in the entire message. The goal of the Subject is to summarize your message in a few words so the other person can have an idea what it's about, compared to the other messages in their Inbox. Keep it brief but informative. If the conversation has shifted to a new topic, update the Subject to reflect that.
- Not removing inappropriate text from the body: Especially when replying or forwarding, it's important to review the message for any unnecessary or private or inappropriate content, like passwords, Social Security numbers, bank or credit card numbers, etc., and then either delete that text, or replace it with a placeholder like "xxx" if that might be helpful to the other person.
- Not removing "unsubscribe" links: It's great to forward useful email newsletters with friends and colleagues, but don't also give them the ability to unsubscribe you! Scroll to the end and delete any "Unsubscribe" or "Manage my subscription" links.
- Not reviewing the attachments when forwarding: Remove any attached files that are not appropriate to forward to your recipient.
- Not taking the time to proofread before Sending: Have you ever sent an email too quickly and regretted it? Take a few minutes to review your message. Did you say what you wanted? Did you say too much? Did you spell-check it? Did you forget to include some information or an important attachment?
Whether you're concerned about good communication, appropriateness, privacy, or security, it's more important than ever to be careful with your electronic communication.
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I love helping people learn how to use their computers better! Like a "computer driving instructor," I work 1-on-1 with small business owners and individuals to help them find a more productive and successful relationship with their computers and other high-tech gadgets.