When sending emails, be aware that anyone could read it and it can be saved: bitch about your colleagues by phone. If you are going to say anything risqué, check who you send the email to more times than you check the content.
The next rule is to veer towards professionalism. This morning I received an email that began with “Hi Gang!” This morning I deleted an email that began with “Hi Gang!” Too many exclamation marks in emails are the literary equivalent of walking around the office with a big clown wig. Observe the difference:
1. “Good morning,” at the start of an email is courteous and professional.
2. “Good morning!” suggests you are genuinely happy to have gotten out of bed and made it into the office on time.
Furthermore, no “smilies” and no alpha-numeric abbreviations like “2 U” or “4 U”. What if Shakespeare had used smilies and such abbreviations?
2 B or not 2 B, that’s the ?
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind 2 suf4
The slings & arrows of outrageous 4tune (lol),
Or 2 take arms against a C of troubles,
& by opposing, end them. ; )
If you send emails like this, please shoot yourself with a silencer.
As if the body of the email was not enough, you have to contend with attachments too. I have lost track of the number of emails asking me to look at the attachment that don’t have one. They’re always followed by the “Sorry, here it is” email.
Email titles deserve attention. There was an unfortunate incident with the fresh-faced young man who was brought in to install Windows NT on the network server; he was known as the “NT boy”. That’s not an email you want to click reply to. Ah, the poor “Re: NT boy”. Other email titles you may consider:
- Re: Re: Re: Your boat, gently down the stream;
- Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Respect. Just a little bit; or
- Re: Re: Wind, when the crowd say “Bo!” Selectah.
One of the best features of office emails is the standard confidentially signature at the bottom that no one ever reads. I like to tweak mine:
The information contained in this e-mail (including attachments) is only for the personal and confidential use of the sender and recipient named above. If the reader is not the intended recipient, you are notified that you have received this message in error and that any review, dissemination, copying or distribution is prohibited. I think a penguin would beat a meercat in a fight. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender immediately by e-mail and delete or destroy the original message and all copies. Thank you.
The same shenanigans can be had with the automatic reply when someone is out of the office:
I will be away from my desk between October 14th and October 18th, returning on October 21st. I will respond to your email upon my return. In the meantime please address any urgent matters to one of my colleagues, except Dave.
Image by Sam Szulc
Share this story