So this might turn out to be a rant because I’m a little fed up today. I’m fed up with people handing out their email addresses, as if they are planning on actually being able to be communicated with via said email address, and then blowing me off.
Case in point: I have an individual – okay there are several individuals – who work on the same campus as I do who routinely ignore emails. I’m actually thinking that Vegas might need to start running numbers on the likelihood of these people responding to emails, because it isn’t that they NEVER respond – they respond, but there is absolutely no pattern or reasoning that would enable me to figure out which of my emails will get a response.
I’ve tried setting certain ones as high priority. I’ve tried using catchy subject lines. I’ve tried using boring, but urgent subject lines. I’ve tried keeping the email to the bare minium issue so that a very quick yes or no response is all that is needed. I never know whether my emails are going to be read, let alone acted upon.
Now, I understand that not everyone has embraced the world of email communications (although I cannot imagine why). But my beef is with people who continually pretend to use email communications and then rudely disregard the bulk of what is sent them.
Isn’t there etiquette as it pertains to email? Surely we’ve all heard the DON’T WRITE IN ALL CAPS OR THEY’LL THINK YOU’RE YELLING AT THEM mantra (oops, sorry, didn’t mean to yell), but what about professionalism? What follows are my suggestions for professionalism in email communications. Add your own by commenting to this post:
1. Do not use text jargon in professional emails. I learn a lot about an individual as soon as I read a professional email with 2day, 4 u, or tamarrow (I never understood that one) in it.
2. Respond to emails promptly. I realize that everyone is busy. I’m busy, too. How many seconds does it take to hit “Reply” then type “I’m a little busy right now, but I’ll get a response to you as soon as possible.”? Try it – I bet you have the time. Last week, I called someone about an email I’d sent to them two weeks ago. I got her voicemail (which she answers less frequently than her email). When I stopped her in the hall later that week, she said “oh, I was in and out of meetings all day.” Okay, so why haven’t you responded to my email or voicemail? I’m in and out of meetings all day every day, yet I still maintain professionalism in my communications.
3. When you receive an email that has multiple recipients, PLEASE do not hit Reply to All and respond.
4. If someone else hits Reply to All and responds, PLEASE do not hit Reply to All and ask them not to hit Reply to All.
5. If someone hits Reply to All and asks people not to hit Reply to All, PLEASE . . . well, you get the picture.
6. Watch what you forward. Most defaults on email applications are set to include the entire text of what is being forwarded, including every email address that it has been previously forwarded to, any text that was sent by a previous forwarder, etc. If you don’t want your boss (or your students, or your children) to see this email someday, do not forward it, because you do not know who might have it forwarded to them on down the line.
7. Think of email as a telephone call or even a face-to-face encounter. If I were standing in front of you asking you a question, would you refuse to respond entirely? If I asked you again, would you just continue about your day without even looking at me? No, that would be rude. Not responding to email communications that include a question or require a response is simply rude.
8. Check your junk email folder often. Many businesses and school districts automatically send legitimate emails directly to junk mail. If you make it a practice to check your junk mail folder at least once a day, you won’t miss an opportunity to communicate with a parent or a client because of this automated system.
Add your rules! Let’s get a standard going!