I’m sure you’ve been on the receiving end of a few cringe-worthy emails that violate your email etiquette terms. Perhaps you’ve even uttered a few choice words about the sender, who has either complicated your life or left you wondering about their maturity level. Yes, we’ve all been on the receiving end of poor email etiquette, but could you unwittingly be on the sending end?
Who knows? Perhaps you possess a few emailing habits that seem innocuous enough to you, but that others find offensive and irritating. I’ve gathered a list of the most annoying email etiquette habits with the help of my amazing Facebook crowd. Apparently, I hit on an important topic because the response to my query was tremendous, including one contributor who said, “This is one of the best threads I’ve ever seen on Facebook.” Thank you, my friends.
Here you go, our list, in no certain order. Feel free to add to this collaborative effort in the comment section below.
1. Too long, or too short.
Yes, Goldilocks, you’ve got to get it just right. No one wants to read run-on sentences and large blocks of text. On the other hand, when the sender has a question or needs input, replying with a curt, single-word answer is usually not sufficient. If it feels like too much effort to elaborate, pick up the phone.
2. Sharing a long email history.
Forwarding a thread of back-and-forth conversation between you and a third party is usually necessary. If your email begins with, “Read from the bottom up,” just know that your recipient may put it on the bottom of the pile.
3. Replying to all.
When someone sends an email to many recipients it does not always mean that everyone must see your reply. If you’re working on a project together, this is acceptable. If it’s a congratulatory email, or something of that nature, not so much.
4. Adding me to your list without my permission.
This one speaks for itself. Just don’t do that.
5. Poor punctuation.
No one needs to know that you’re uncertain about how to use a comma versus a semicolon. Sites like www.grammarly.com are quick and easy resources. Trust me on this one; you’ll look much smarter.
6. Emoticons and overuse of the exclamation mark.
Smiley faces when communicating with a friend can be charming, but “cutesy” isn’t usually appropriate in professional communication. Along those lines, exclamation marks are used to indicate strong feelings or high volume (shouting). One says it all!
7. Introducing people without permission.
You may believe that these two people must meet, but please don’t make that decision for them. Send a bio and a brief description of why you believe the introduction would be beneficial to both parties before you act.
8. Marking an email urgent when it’s not.
Look at it from the other person’s perspective, is it really urgent or are you being overly demanding or needy?
9. Ridiculous fonts and colored backgrounds or text.
White background, black text, legible font. That is all.
10. Saying things that shouldn’t be said in an email.
People often use email to say things better said in person or on the phone. If you’re nervous or want to think it through, write the email to yourself. Rehearse it, then speak to the person directly.
11. Replying to an old email without changing subject line.
Don’t have this person in your contact list? Add them. If you must hit reply on an old email, change the subject line to a proper description.
12. Missing subject line.
Keep it to about three or four words that convey a proper description of the topic. A thoughtful subject line makes it easier to prioritize and file.
13. Writing the entire message in the subject line.
This often backfires, as most people won’t even read a lengthy subject line. Even if it’s a short email use the body, not the subject line, to communicate the meat of it.
14. Excluding contact information.
I may want to call you instead of reply to your email. Please don’t make me email you to ask for your phone number.
15. Misspelling their name.
“Dear Maria, I hope you’re having a great week!” Really? Then why don’t you care enough to spell my name correctly?
16. No unsubscribe option.
You’ve added me to your list without my permission–and there’s no unsubscribe link? Not only rude, but you’re violating the law on this one. You may even be fined.
17. Over-sharing your political opinions.
Sure, you’re an influencer, but trying to politically influence your friends and those on your list is in poor taste.
18. Text that requires deciphering.
Don’t u b 1 of those ppl who think typing 2 others like this is ok–because it’s not. Save the shorthand and acronyms for texting to your kids. TYVM.
19. Improperly spelled words.
I leave you with two words on this one: spell check.
Your turn. What are your pet email etiquette peeves?