Why Did You Send That? 11 Rules for Responding to Emails

This is part 2 of 3 emails from my archieves. Seems to be a constant need to re-publish these rules. Our words drive the intended outcome and creates the influence you desire. So the words we choose to respond to an email determines the effectiveness of your response.

When replying to emails, consider these 11 rules:

  1. Organize your words and paragraphs to make it easy for readers to follow and understand. Don’t make it one big long paragraph. I won’t read it.
  2. Reflect on the email content before replying. Your leadership effectiveness is reflected in your response. Don’t respond to initial emotions.
  3. Don’t automatically hit “Reply All.”  This frustrates me more than anything! This should only be used when needed and with extreme caution.  You should only use “Reply All” when everyone on the “TO” list requires your response.  Most of the time, it is sufficient to only respond to the person who sent the email. Hitting “reply all” when not necessary will damage relationships.
  4. Be Careful with the “Bcc.” The “Bcc:” option allows you to “blind carbon copy” someone on an email without any of the other recipients knowing. It can be useful in some cases when you wish to keep email addresses private. However, it is a deceptive tool that is often used to call someone out. Remember, emails can be forwarded.
  5. Avoid Cursing. Cursing in an email is just wrong. Don’t do it. Swearing in an email comes off as being ignorant or showing a lacking intelligence.
  6. Use proper grammar.  Don’t write like you speak. Remember, emails are forwarded all the time.
  7. Respond Regardless. Everyone deserves a response, even if the email was mistakenly sent to you.  A simple, “I got your email,” or “I think this was addressed to me by mistake” will let the sender know you got the message.
  8. Be leery of tone. Each person interprets emails differently.  A well-written email can easily be understood as a negative one with the use of various words.  Many people use all caps. Doing this implies YOUR YELLING AT SOMEONE. Always breathe through your response and read it through the eyes of the recipient.
  9. Don’t Be Cute There is no room for cuteness or EMOJI’s, inappropriate pictures, etc.
  10. Include a professional signature. Include; your full name, title, work address and phone number.  When using a quote or image, be careful that it does not offend.
  11. Write it, Read it, then reread it again and rewrite it and reread it. Make sure your grammar, spelling, and choice of words portray the intended tone and message. Again, don’t respond from emotions or feeling. Get up, walk around and think through your response.

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