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[casi] !OT Re: your pointless email

Although written for workplace use... still some useful advice particuarly the replying when angry 
and rude parts :) - RT

Re: your pointless email,13427,1004281,00.html
Are you wasting hours of your time sending and managing too much worthless email? Jane Perrone 
provides ten top tips for how to stay on message

Wednesday July 23, 2003

Pointless email messages are costing UK businesses millions of pounds a year, according to new 
research by business writing consultants Emphasis.

It's not a surprising conclusion, considering that Emphasis makes a living teaching employees how 
to make effective use of email. But there's little doubt that for many workers email has become a 
preoccupation that distracts them from the job in hand. As Emphasis senior consultant Robert Ashton 
puts it:

"Just because email is free, that doesn't mean it's cheap."

So how does one navigate the minefield of workplace email communication? After more than a decade 
of using email, I have established my personal email diktat:

1. Think before you send every email: would it be quicker, more efficient, and more friendly to 
phone or even walk over to the person and talk to them in person?

2. If you're emailing Doris in accounts, don't cc your message to everyone in the company just so 
you can share your razor-sharp witticism about P60 forms with 200 people. It wastes bandwidth (a 
measure of the amount of data that can be transmitted by your email network at any time), clogs up 
other peoples inboxes and ultimately, isn't that funny. In fact, people will hate you for it.

3. Don't let your email inbox overflow. Try to deal with every email as soon as possible by 
responding to the message, deleting it, flagging it for attention later or filing it away.

4. Don't send email attachments unless you absolutely have to. They eat up bandwidth and often 
can't be opened by other people. Could you place the document on a server that everyone can access 
or add the text to the body of the email instead?

5. Don't forward every "hilarious" jpeg/virus warning/chain letter you receive from friends to 
everyone in your address book. If it's a virus warning it's probably a hoax, and if it's that 
funny, most people will already have seen it. If you must, limit your forwards to a few close 
friends and clearly mark your email as frivolous spam in the subject line. People will begin 
ignoring every email that you send - including the important ones - if you bombard them with spam.

6. Always include an informative subject line in your email: this helps your colleagues to locate 
it in their inbox and gives them an idea of how important it is, so they can read the message 
marked "your pay rise" before the one called "has anyone seen my X Files mouse mat?"

7. Try to avoid bitching about colleagues to other members of staff via emails: the old adage 
applies: if you wouldn't write it on a postcard, don't write it in an email. Many firms monitor 
staff email usage and you never know when someone could be reading messages over your shoulder. And 
it is all to easy to hit the reply button rather than forward and end up sending your rant to the 
very person you are moaning about.

8. Before you fire off an angry email to someone, save the message on draft and take half an hour 
(or a day if you're really angry) to let yourself cool down. Then take another look at the message 
and decide whether to send or delete it.

9. Make every email you send count: don't rush a message off in 10 seconds. Spelling mistakes, 
sloppy grammar and half-formed sentences make you look slapdash. Having said that, each company has 
its own unwritten rules about the degree of formality required in electronic communications: work 
out what they are and follow them.

10. And finally, be forgiving of colleagues' email faux pas. If a colleague sends you an email that 
you deem to be rude, just remember that tone is completely lost in electronic communications, and 
it may be that they were trying to be funny or simply rushed off a message in a moment of anger and 
instantly regretted it.

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