Human Resources News & Insights

Don’t press send! 7 email faux pas you want to avoid

Email is unavoidable in the workplace, and the amount of messages filling up employees’ inboxes can be annoying and intimidating. 

These days, practically anyone is able to contact you via email (and you can do the same).

Because of this, it’s becoming a challenge to get people to answer your emails in a timely manner. And even if you consider yourself email savvy, you could be making some common errors that prevent you from getting that quick response.

What not to do

Fast Company contributor Stephanie Vozza shared email mistakes most people make, and what to do instead:

  1. Using caps in the subject line. You might be trying to stress the importance of something, but all caps will just stress out the recipient. Research shows that emails with all caps subject lines receive responses 30% less than lowercase subject lines. Normal capitalization is best.
  2. Having vague subject lines. If the recipient is confused what the email is regarding, they’re less likely to open it and reply. Using something simple and generic like “Hi” will make the message seem unimportant.
  3. Not using cc and bcc. You might be used to putting every recipient in the “to” line, but using cc and bcc can be more effective. Generally, people included in the “to” line are expected to respond to the message. Adding people to “cc” lets them know they’re in the loop, but don’t necessarily need to respond. And “bcc” sends the message that this person’s involvement should be kept secret.
  4. Writing too much or too little. While big blocks of text are intimidating, sometimes it’s necessary if the subject matter is serious or complicated. That being said, if you have a simple request, don’t overdo it — short and sweet is better in this case.
  5. Not saying thank you. Emails that end with “thanks” or “thanks in advance” are 36% more likely to get a response.  Plus, the person will want to help out if you show gratitude.
  6. Sending an email on Monday. Of course, you can’t always avoid emails on a Monday. But, if the message can wait until Tuesday, you’ll be more likely to get a positive response when people aren’t so tired or grumpy.
  7. Expecting a quick response. Just because you’re message could be answered in five minutes, doesn’t mean it will. Remember: email is not the same as text messaging. Your co-worker could have more urgent things going on and will reply to your message when they have time.
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