Common Email Mistakes That Derail Success

I can’t tell you how many times I see emails with some phrases or grammatical issues that simply drive me nuts. Like the lady who ends every sentence with a ‘?’.  Especially if it is a declarative sentence?  I just haven’t figured that one out yet?


or the person who cant capitalize or use any kind of punctuation at all i mean really just because we text all the time doesnt mean we cant use some proper grammar to make our communications readable and dont get me started on spleling and emojis


And then I saw this article from The Muse that I found rather entertaining.  I know people who write this stuff.  I will be the first to admit I have ended an email with “Please advise.”  And yes, I did it to express annoyance at something.  Usually someone who claimed they had a clue and really didn’t.  And I don’t use it often.  As to the rest, they are things I see from time-to-time.  And my first instinct is to often ignore or delete them.

So it got me to thinking about some other tips I also feel are absolute musts with regard to email that I attempt to use regularly to help with my communication to others.

  1. The Rage Delay  We have ALL done it.  We hit SEND after firing back that rather hot e-mail
    because someone pressed our buttons.  And then we think to ourselves, “Self, perhaps that was not such a bright idea.”  If you use Microsoft Outlook, here are two ways to do this.  I prefer the automated rule, so it applies to every message.  I delay them for 2 minutes, to give my brain the opportunity to get control again, get to the outbox, and delete the message before it goes.  In Google apps or Gmail, I also use the Undo Send option, but it will only delay sending for 30 seconds.
  2. Read it Out Loud  I know, I know.  The last thing we need is to have people think we are off our rocker because we are at our desk talking to ourselves.  First, it’s more common that we would care to admit.  Second, if you pop a Bluetooth headset on, no one will know the difference.  Taking the time to read the email out loud may give you the chance to truly listen to what you are saying and interpret how it is likely to be perceived.
  3. Pick up the Phone  You know…that thing on the desk with the buttons?  If I can’t literally get up and go see them in person, I pick up the phone.  I may get a voicemail, but it’s better than getting into an email war.  I’ll even respond to an email with, “John, I left you a voicemail, please call back when you get a second.”  And I will almost always leave a good day and time when I will be at my desk or available on my cell.  The simple act of interpersonal communication can often clear up misunderstandings that occur when sending and receiving emails.

Email remains one of the most common form of communication next to texting today.  And in business, email is still pervasive.  There is no exact science to the best ways to communicate using email, mainly because how people express themselves can be so vastly different.   But by utilizing some consistent practices around email, you can make it work more effectively for you.