Monday, June 30, 2008

Lessons of E-mail: How do we stay out of trouble?

Gosh, I hope I never make this mistake again. A few years ago, I sent a smart aleck e-mail about an irritating co-worker to a friend and actually sent it to the irritating one instead. It felt good for a second to send that e-mail but it took many days for the embarassment to wear off every time I passed him in the hall. So I now 1) at least look twice at the to category or more importantly 2) don't send those types of e-mails anymore. So here are a few other things I've learned:
* Use good grammar. Make it easier for any recipient to read your message. No capitalization, bad punctuation, missing words slows the reader down.
* Take a break when you receive a stinging message. Maybe the sender didn't mean it the way it came across. Respond with just the facts or better yet, go talk to them in person.
* Don't write in all caps. Ever.
* Keep font easy to read.
* Try not to reply all to everyone if only one person needs to know.
* De-tweak the tweaking cc. You can cc the boss every time somebody doesn't "do right." Your boss will appreciate it in the beginning. But when your co-workers hesitate about talking with you or worse, working with you, you lose.
Here are two articles with tips.
E-mail ettiquette
Top 20 Rules of Most Important Rules of E-mail Ettiquette
What are your thoughts on e-mail rules?


Anonymous said...

A couple of suggestions:

First, don't ever - ever - put anything in your own work email that you do not want EVERYONE to know.

Second, be respectful as to who you send emails to. If you send it to their work email address, be prepared for EVERYONE at their work to know about it.

It may be important to remember that work email address are owned by the company and the employee has little right to privacy regarding those emails. When the company gets sued and if the employee has information regarding the suit, he/she better get ready for their hard drive and all their emails to be copied and reviewed.

Also, do not make the mistake of believing that you are actually deleting your emails. They never seem to go away. Many companies have several back up systems so that your email, even though the email appears to be delted - it is rarely completely gone. And - there is very little the employee can do to get around it. That's part of the point of the back-up systems - to keep emails from disappearing forever.

As a side note, regarding company phone calls, some companies record phone conversations of certain employees as standard procedure.

City Sights and Observations said...

Thanks anonymous! Those suggestions are great reminders. I know I'm guilty of sending less than desireable notes to people's work e-mail addresses. In some states work-phone texting is protected for some reason (don't see how it's different from e-mailing though). Check out my latest post about a ruling for some states protecting the texts.

City Sights and Observations said...
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