Aneesh Mehta lists out email dos and don’ts

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With almost two billion people using email, it has clearly emerged as the most popular communication tool. As its usage soars, so do the chances of unknowingly committing a blunder. The following are the top seven “oops” moments:

Punching “Reply all” without thinking: Your colleague gets promoted and sends an email to the 34 people in the department. You punch in “Congrats dude!” and innocently click “Reply All”, flooding 34 overcrowded mail boxes with this personal message.

Tip: Use “reply all” if your message may be of value to those marked cc, otherwise click “Reply” to sender only.

Cc to everyone: We all receive several emails in a work day, where we are marked cc, making us wonder why we are a part of this communication in the first place. ??Tip: Mark cc only to people who need to be in the know and this may change as the same mail goes back and forth between various business partners.

Confusion on action: It’s pointless making your recipients read through a lengthy message trying to figure out the actionable. Bosses who send ambiguous emails run the risk of juniors interpreting the mail in several creative ways. ??Tip: List the actionable items in a concise manner and if no action is required, simply mark FYI in the subject.

Sending the email to the wrong person: We’ve all heard horror stories, jeopardising price negotiations by sending the email meant for one vendor to another, a manager complaining about his co-worker to his boss and mistakenly marking cc to the co-worker too…??Tip: Leave “To” field blank, punching in the address after you’ve finished typing your message.

Responding when sleepy/angry/drunk: A great recipe for disaster!

Tip: Save your response in the drafts folder, re-read it after a few hours and there’s a high chance that you’ll make some changes.

Believing emails are confidential: As it’s an exchange between two people’s computers, we get lulled into believing that emails are confidential. However, an email received by or sent from a corporate server will be logged in their system and can be checked for non-conformance.

All business can be done via email: You can’t email a handshake! While emails are ideal for corresponding, creating a record or for staying in touch, business relationships are built the old-fashioned way i.e. by connecting on the phone or meeting face-to-face.
(The writer is a financial analyst at Vanguard Investments, Melbourne)