Email messages are the bane of existence for desk-jobbers everywhere. Most people maintain their inbox a lot better than they maintain their personal or family lives. Unfortunately, our inboxes have been polluted by horrible messages and unnecessary communication. Do you find yourself writing these six types of emails?
1. The Retirement Letter -- Saying bye to everyone before you leave? Really? Here's what happens when you leave a job. You either quit on your teammates (literally, not figuratively... literally) or you do something that forces them to kick you off the team (and you get fired). In either case your note could just say "So long suckers! See you on LinkedIn!" And it'd aptly do the job in either scenario. Penning a send-off is a total red card.
2. The One-word gratitude email -- Ah yes, the infamous "Thanks" email, to show gratitude for an email received and acknowledged, but not read. Stop playing with our emotions gratitude-email writer! The only thing worse than this email is the one with the word 'Thanks' abbreviated. I'm looking at you "Thx" and "Thnks" email writers. These email writers are great at responding to emails, but lousy Wheel Of Fortune players and evidently too poor to buy vowels for their emails.
3. The Children's Novel -- This email is written by micro-managers, middlemen (and women), and volunteer point of contacts everywhere. You know what I'm talking about. That email with all sorts of screenshots and gigantic arrows pointing out basic instructions. All in the body of an email and wonderfully copied to 14 recipients. This graphic novel of an email is meant to give clarity, but all it really gives is inbox Ebola.
4. The Thesis -- Email is short for electronic mail. Not electronic essay. Does your email need citations, double-spacing and proofreading by a tutor before you send it? If so, work harder and be more concise. We live in an ADD-world where people multi-task their multi-tasking. You can't really expect someone you don't know to block off 35 minutes to read a transcript of your latest TED talk and then write a response to it. Blog posts are meant for your blog. Not for Outlook.
5. The Mystery -- Sending an email without providing ample details will do the one thing you don't want to do. Create more emails. Consider this. I sent an email to every company email address I had that basically said "Intruder Alert!" I got a myriad of responses -- the gist of them were:
"I'm out of the office and unavailable to check my email."
Those are all viable responses because my email was a real cliffhanger. No details and insufficient information. Reading a mystery email is like watching a TV show that breaks for commercial, and then doesn't come back. On the flip side it does make your email go viral since you get all sorts of responses. Is unintended viral marketing a thing yet?
6. The Front-page News -- Look, the Internet is full of nonsense. If you don't believe me, just look in the comments section on any article related to sports, politics or religion. Your email that is directed at one person and sent to 4,500 other people adds to that nonsense. Why are you forcing people to read something they don't need to? Want to send an email to Jim in accounting? Great! Send an email to Jim in an accounting. And no one else. Save the email marketing for Constant Contact. Not your corporate email account.
Most of us can't get through the day (or a trip to the washroom) without checking our email. Let's all do one another a favor and make sure those email checks in the middle of the night or while we're waiting for our significant other to respond to our marriage proposal (unless you proposed via a calendar invite) are a lot cleaner. Use these tricks to get a 91 percent open-rate on your cold emails as well.