I wouldn’t call it a complete list, but LifeHack has a hell of a good list of email best practices.
- Use Descriptive Subject Lines — Guilty, but who amongst us hasn’t written an email and intentionally left the subject line nondescript in order to entice people to open your email? Unfortunately, that tactic just pisses people off and they stop reading your emails all together. Think of your email headline as the title of a text book. You wouldn’t name “Windows Scripting guide” “DUDE!” would you?
- Brevity is Your Friend — Guilty. Sometimes though, in a place like UWT I have a wide range of audiences — from people who like a lot of information to people who don’t want to be bothered. Those messages are the most difficult. Those are the ones that require my inner Hemingway to come out and shine – unlike this response.
- But Don’t Be Too Brief — Guilty.
- Don’t CC if You Don’t Have a Reason — Think of who your email is going to before you send it. Do they REALLY REALLY REALLY need to know?
- Reply-All Isn’t Always Necessary — In fact, it’s never necessary. And please don’t use Reply-All to just say “thanks.”
- Use BCC for Bulk Mail — but don’t use it to be passive aggressive. if you have something to say to someone be an adult and say it to their face.
- Don’t Use The Forward Button — especially to just forward the latest scam. Does the person you’re forwarding this email to REALLY REALLY REALLY need to know? Probably not.
This is some very good advice. From my point of view. The problem is that many of us work in places where there are myriad communications styles and what happens is that the workplace communication can get bogged down with everyone trying to say the same thing in 5 different ways.
That’s what it’s so important for a large workplace to agree to and adhere to workplace policies and best practices regarding email.