Seven Deadly Email Sins


By Sam Greengard

You would think that by now we would know how to use email. Nope! Here are some of the most common and annoying gaffes, glitches and breakdowns:

1. Unsigned, sealed and delivered. Sending business email without a signature line that includes a phone number and email address is rude and unprofessional. We don't want to waste time looking up your phone number. Also, if a message is forwarded, the person on the receiving end might not be able to contact you.

2. There's no point. Sometimes, you can read an entire message and not have a clue about what it says or how you're supposed to respond. The sender was apparently writing in his or her own form of shorthand. I guess that's why they invented the "delete" button.

3. Spam I am. Please don't send funny political jokes, heartwarming animal photos or ominous virus warnings to business colleagues and friends. You're wasting people's time and laying claim to the title of spammer. Besides, if your IT department isn't already aware of a malware issue, you've got way bigger problems to deal with.

4. Name soup. It's incredibly annoying to receive a message with 72 email addresses in the "To" line. And if all the clutter isn't bad enough, it's an invasion of privacy to broadcast recipients' email addresses to the world. Hide the addresses.

5. Unhappy returns. Please don't send what appears to be a new message when replying. News flash: Modern email programs have the ability to quote back messages. Switch this feature on. It's much easier to view an entire discussion in one message rather than searching through bits and pieces from four or five different messages. 6. Unhealthy attachments. It's impossible to fathom why, in an era of Dropbox and Box.net, anyone would attach 37 megabytes of photos to a message--or send 72 attachments in 24 different messages. You're complicating our lives, especially if we have to save all those attachments to a folder.

7. Copy and Paste Haste. Take a moment and proofread what you're sending--especially if you've copied and pasted text from one message into another. Otherwise, you may forget to update the names and/or company and wind up with virtual mud on your face.