Many of us think we use email well. We don't.
Too many of us rush, causing confusion and requiring more time to clarify misunderstandings later. We miss chances to build relationships, motivate others, close deals and convey important information.
Avoid the following ten mistakes.
1. Using vague subject lines. "Meeting," "Update," or "Question" provide no value as subject lines.
Maximize the subject line's message. PDA users will get the message quickly; everyone will appreciate the clear summary. You can communicate plenty in a five to 10 word subject line: "Your Action Items and Minutes from Last Week's Meeting" or "Sam: See You at 10:00 Tuesday with Report In-Hand?"
2. Burying the news. Convey the important points first: put dates, deadlines and deliverables in the first one to three lines of the message (if not also in the subject line). PDA limitations, time pressures, cultural distinctions and value judgments keep many readers from reading further.
3. Hiding Behind the "BCC" field. At best, the 'blind copy' field is sneaky and risky. At worst, it's deceitful or unethical. Plus, blind recipients sometimes hit "reply all," revealing the deception. Instead, post the initial message and BCC no one. Then forward your sent message to others with a brief explanation.
4. Failing to clean up the mess of earlier replies/forwards. Few readers will wade through strings of previous messages.