My Pet Peeves and Joys of E-Mail

While new technology has taken away the dominance of e-mail, it is still extremly prevalent in society. Last night I tweeted out a minor pet peeve I have with how people use it. However, I am also often delighted by the great practices others use when communicating via electronic mail. In tonight’s blog post I am going to zip through three e-mail practices that I don’t particularly like and then end on a positive note by recognizing three techniques that I really appreciate.

The Negative

Misplaced Gratitude – Often I will receive e-mails that ask me to complete a task such as filling out paperwork, donating to a cause, or performing a favor for someone. While these requests are perfectly fine, sometimes the way they “thank me” irritates me. Instead of offering gratitude for reading the e-mail or considering it, some folks repond with “thanks in advance.” I guess this bothers me for two reasons. First, I never agreed to do what was being asked. The sender seems to intentionally put pressure on a person to do somethng by implying that the deed at hand is already accepted and is as good as done. Second, it implies that the sender won’t have to thank the person once the task is actually completed. Hey, I am just thanking you right now to get it over with so I don’t have to say it after you actually decide to do the work. I dislike this.

Random CC – I feel a little deceived when I am corresponding with someone back and forth about an issue and then out of nowhere the person pulls in someone via carbon copy. I am talking about the times when it isn’t 100% obvious that the additional person should be brought in. I am referring to when a person will bring in a superior or someone who might not need to see the whole transcript. If I am going to CC someone in a conversation that has been on-going, I will at least call the person and let them know who I plan to include. If for some reason that step is not appropriate at the time, when I do CC the other person I will write out in the body of the e-mail explaining why I am doing so. Under no circumstances would I ever completely surprise someone.

Read Receipt – I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate read receipts. Why must I tell you if I read your e-mail? I have a 100% record of NOT sending a read receipt.


The Positive

Good Morning, How Are You? – I know we are all busy and e-mail can drain a lot of time. This is why I really appreciate the people who will start an e-mail off by greeting me and asking me how I am doing. At Coastal Carolina we have many people who do this and it is so refreshing. An e-mail that starts out like this Hi Brent – Good morning! How are you doing? It was nice running into you a couple days ago. By chance could you please send me a photo…. is always more appreciated than Brent – Please send photo….

I respect people who take a couple seconds to make their electronic correspondence courteous and pleasant rather than impersonal and short.

Fast Response – The people who respond to e-mail in a split second are the real MVPs. I know there are many folks out there who can’t respond the second the e-mail hits their inbox because of technology deficiencies or serious workload. However, I commend the people who given the choice to respond now or respond later will always choose the former even if it means they are laying in bed.

Organized and Clear – I know a couple people who will compose e-mails on Word documents to make sure all grammar and spelling is flawless. I think this is awesome and shows a lot of respect and care. Of course I don’t expect everyone to do this. An honest effort to compose e-mails that make logical sense and avoid terrible spelling errors is enough for me. I once corresponded with someone via e-mail who had an iPhone signature that read “I am not responsible for spelling/grammar errors.” Ummmm…why not? I love the people who do hold themselves responsible


From what I have read, e-mail could be totally gone in ten years. But while we still have it, I want to try to be as respectful and helpful on it as possible. Do you have any e-mail pet peeves or best practices? Don’t Blink.

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