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The five most annoying things you can do in an email
Author : Catie Holdridge
Posted : 12 / 10 / 11
Life without email would be terrible. How would we work? Keep in touch with far-flung friends? Find that latest link to a video of a baby panda sneezing?
On the other hand, who hasn’t at some point found themselves frothing in impotent rage and gripping the mouse until their knuckles turn white, because their correspondent has inadvertently trampled on their e-chilles’ heel?
Our Twitter poll suggests you have as many reasons to hate email as to love it. As the old saying goes, you can’t please all of the people all of the time; but avoiding these top five infuriating habits should tip the balance in the direction of those sneezing baby pandas. Aww.
Here are the top five pet hates:
1) CC this!
Careless use of the CC (carbon copy) function comes in at number one as the most hated e-habit. So, don’t CC someone in place of asking them directly to do something. Don’t CC rather than BCC (blind carbon copy) people who may not want their email address sharing with your entire mailing list. And do know that CCing their boss, their boss’s boss, and your boss on one message may well be seen as a declaration of war.
2) 2 bsy 4 wrds
Yes, everyone is too busy for words nowadays. Well, too busy for whole words. One can only imagine the increased productivity enjoyed by those who save valuable seconds with their streamlined signoffs: ‘KR’, ‘BW’ (‘Kind regards’; ‘Best wishes’) and ‘Rgds’. Let alone ‘thx’ for ‘thanks’. Abbreviate at your own risk, though: as one tweeter put it, ‘the effect is ineptly disguised indifference’.
3) Have you read it yet? How about now?
No one likes to be checked up on. Requesting a read receipt will win you no friends, and won’t necessarily have any positive effect, given the anguish they cause (one person reported they made him ‘feel violated’). And don’t try to pretend you’ve never pressed the ‘don’t send receipt’ button simply out of spite.
4) STOP SHOUTING!!!
Yep, using all capital letters rankles – it’s just unnecessary to inflict such an optical assault. And coupling CAPS with emphatic exclamation marks in the hope of rousing your reader into action is more likely to get them rolling their eyes. ‘As if that will somehow make it seem more urgent and important!!!!!!’ one Tweeter quipped.
5) I dont need to punctuate in email right
At the other end of the spectrum is ‘the assumption that all forms of punctuation (and the capital letters that follow some of them) aren’t required’. Not only do you risk presenting yourself as someone who doesn’t give two tweets about work/grammar/being understood, but you’re much more likely to be ambiguous and confusing.
And here, from the horse’s mouth, is what our Tweeters had to say. To tell us what you think, join in with future Twitter polls and keep up to date with our writing tips, follow @EmphasisWriting and our CEO @Robert _Ashton.
outbounded Ben Johnson
Being cc’d into another’s email conversation
just to be asked to do something. #emailhates @EmphasisWriting
Leaving people on the recipients list
in a group exchange after it’s become apparent they’re not involved. #emailhates
peppermintesse peppermint s.
Smiley faces in (supposedly)
professional contact emails. #emailhates
beng Ben Griffiths
oh, it has to be: I’ve sent you this
email but, look, I’ve also cc’ed your boss and your boss’s boss and my boss.
zoelouwhite ZoÃ« White
Dear “name of business”. And
caps, and exclamation marks, and read receipts… #emailhates
kirsty_mcewen Kirsty M
‘Kind regards’ drives me slightly mad
because it always seems as if the person doesn’t give a monkey’s about the
SnoozeInBrief Tom Freeman
Abbreviating “Kind regards”
to “KR” or “Best wishes” to “BW”. The effect is
ineptly disguised indifference. #emailhates
Unreadable typefaces and colours, e.g.
pink italic Comic Sans. #emailhates
joelmgunter Joel Gunter
The assumption that all forms of
punctuation (and the capital letters that follow some of them) aren’t required. #emailhates
jonhew Jonathan Hewett
Oh, you mean I could have used Bcc and
not shared your email address with hundreds of other people #emailhates
cathackforth Cat Hackforth
Signing off with “Best”. Is
it really that much effort to write “All the best” or “Best
CarinMarais Carin Marais
top email hate: Using only CAPS and
many exclamation marks, as if that will somehow make it seem more urgent and
sirliamkelly Liam Kelly
“Thanks in advance” – lazy
MrSamWilson Sam Wilson
Read receipts, especially on something
like a newsletter or announcement. It makes me feel violated
JamboTheJourno Jamie Smith
management speak bollocks like “going forward”. Oh and “hope
you’re well” – as if you care!
emails with other people cc’d in for public embarrassment effect! #emailhates @emphasiswriting
StanCarey Stan Carey
amused than peeved by this, but “Rgds” = “My time is too
valuable to bother with those other three letters.”
Catie joined Emphasis in 2008 with an English literature and creative writing degree under her belt. Having researched and written dozens of articles for the Emphasis blog, she now knows more about the intricacies of effective professional writing than she ever thought possible.
She produced and co-wrote our online training programme, Emphasis 360, and these days oversees all the Emphasis marketing efforts. And she keeps office repartee at a suitably literary level.
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