10 handy tips for wise emailing

by 19 Nov 2009

1. Encourage people to walk around the office instead of emailing. Face to face is always better than knife to back

2. If you are angry, set up a meeting to discuss, don’t vent via email. Even if justified, you might find your rant is sent on, or becomes part of one long daisychain of stupidity.

3. Suggest a bulletin board to lessen the huge amounts of interoffice emails; leave the “fridge for sale” ad where it belongs, on the canteen fridge.

4. Don’t let people write things like “I wasn't made aware” or “I’m disappointed with your approach”. If they really are unhappy let them talk it through in person.

5. Please ask people to use “please” and “thank you”. Rushed emails end up costing more time anyway.

6. Have an email-free day. If Casual Fridays worked, surely an idea that has genuine benefits should be trialled.

7. Set a limit to the number of people on the CC bar.

8. Try to use CC only to keep people in the loop. Don’t let the loop become a noose falling on the rounded shoulders of the weakest or oldest in the pack.

9. Don’t make the subject about someone. Strangely, “Dan’s mistake” or “Sally’s ruined everything” does not set the right atmosphere for collaborative problem-solving.

10. And, finally, take a deep breath. Don’t allow a knee jerk culture to develop and turn even nice people into jerks. Establish expectations in terms of response times. Surely thinking time is worth thinking about.

- Michael Stanford, author of Inhuman Resources

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