How are you doing with your emails? If you haven’t cleared your overwhelming unread messages of today, just leave them, because you are about to make some serious email mistakes anyway.
There’s a good chance that many of your friends, family and colleagues find your email messages very annoying — or even offensive. Here are the Top 5 Email Mistakes that most people make according to a recent national survey.
Please read before you hit the send button…
1. The Insensitive Email Cliché
Email insensitivity was defined as “insensitive emails” to be the #1 email pet peeve. Most of the time you don’t really mean to sound indifferent but with those abstract phrases and sentences you have been used to, your emails could sound cold and annoying.
These include emails with phrases like “please advise”, “ASAP”, and “please note”. This is not the way you actually talk in real life, so why should your emails sound like that?
To save your readers from dangling in never-ever land with those worn-out insensitive cliches, write with definite deadlines and specific actionable to do’s would help everyone and save time.
A French poet Gérard de Nerval once explained the cliche writing by saying “The first man who compared a woman to a rose was a poet; the second, an imbecile.” We practice email writing every day – we can be more creative, right?
2&3. Emails With Numerous Replies and Multiple Recipients
When it comes to an email with multiple recipients and replies, you’ll often see an email with a subject like Re:re:re:fwd:re:re:re:fwd… which is so Frustrating. Especially when you are reading this on your smartphone (even on iphone iOS8), you are still stuck with a whole lot of information that you don’t really need. It can be quite confusing for anyone to browse in a long chain of emails to figure out which message is related to yourself. No need to mention when you are trying to place people who are cc’d to bcc from the epic email recipients list.
Check this mockup flyer from MailTime.
“Every time when you want to check an email either on your smartphone or desktop, you have to scroll through pages of copies, subject lines, signatures, meta data… “
4. Emails Not Personally Addressed
Usually people won’t fully read emails that are not personally addressed. Though we are dropping those too formal email writing as time goes by, the basic greeting is still with us.
We usually write greetings in the very first two emails, that’s probably why the first two emails threads are always longer than the later ones. Be careful when you spell people’s names. For example, if it’s “vienne” instead of “vivian”, or “Edwyn” instead of “Edwin”. Name addressing can matter a lot if you are trying to close a deal, or apply for a job.
You don’t know if a minor typo would cause any mildly annoyingness towards you when it’s addressed to someone important. Double check the name before you sending those important emails.
5. Emails that are TOO LONG
How patient do you expect your readers to be regarding the length of the email? Six or five paragraphs?
Data shows that 76% disapprove emails that are longer than THREE paragraphs. Surprise! Actually even though you’ll lose most readers at 3 paragraphs, even shorter emails can get you in trouble. Wait for it…How so?
Actually 20% of people claim that they won’t fully read emails that are longer than 1 paragraph. You know how it feels when you get lost in lines reading a super long email. Why should you write like this as well? Keep your emails brief and be specific. We believe that in this age being Efficient is the New Polite.