For quite sometime I've been meaning to write an article on email. Yet my
good friend and fellow organizing consultant, DJ Watson, beat me to it and
did an "excellent" job!
Email etiquette has been a long time pet peeve of mine so instead of
waiting any longer I asked DJ if I could share her article with the visitors of 1,2,3 SORT
IT and she graciously agreed.
Please make sure you check out DJ's website and sign up for her "10 Minute
A humorous look at e-mail insanity: donít believe everything you hear:
- Place your contact information in the reply, including phone number and/or
- Create one e-mail per subject for easy filing and retrieval
- Be sure subject line matches contents - change the subject if a message
has been going back and forth for a while
- When responding to a question or specific issue, refer to that item in your
response; donít assume the person remembers the question
- When forwarding an email, clean up the "junk" transmission information at
the top and bottom of the email you are sending. Make sure people don't
have to scroll down a bunch of old information to get to the good part
(because most wonít)
- Write as though you are talking to that person, messages that are too
cryptic or short may create the wrong impression. However donít make
them too long either, better to send two with new subject lines
- When you must send a mass email - use the "bcc" or "blind copy" function
when composing the message and put your own email address in the "send
to" box. This way people will only see their address and your address in the
email header and others can't "spam" off your list of recipients. Your
friends and clients will appreciate the privacy
- Check spelling, grammar and general appearance of the message
- Use upper AND lower case, messages in upper case are too hard to read
- Never send unsolicited jokes to ANYONE, donít assume people want to be
on the list
- Be aware of well meaning virus alerts and other safety messages that
often turn out to be hoaxes check it out at: http://urbanlegends.tqn.com
.. Donít assume that your messages were received, ask for confirmation
- Allow people 24 hours to get back to a message or identify a time line
- Send your e-mails when promised
- Keep a record of your sent messages so you can follow up
- When possible, send documents as attachments that can be printed out,
AS WELL as copying the text into the email. Not everyone can open
attachments or uses the same software you do, so let the reader know
which software you used and what to do if they canít open it.
- Make it easy to respond to you, add a signature line at the bottom with
(P.S.: There is no bill pending before Congress that will allow
long-distance companies to charge you for using the Internet.)
- Big companies don't do business via chain letters. Bill Gates is not giving you
$1000, and Disney is not giving you a free vacation. There is no Walt Disney Jr. Ė
Walt Disney Sr. never had kids. There is no baby food company issuing class-action
checks. Procter and Gamble is not part of a satanic cult or scheme, and its logo is
not satanic. MTV will not give you backstage passes if you forward something to the
most people. You can relax; there is no need to pass it on "just in case it's true."
Furthermore, just because someone said in a message, four generations back, that
"we checked it out and it's legit," does not actually make it true.
- There is no kidney theft ring in New Orleans. No one is waking up in a bathtub
full of ice, even if a friend of a friend swears it happened to their cousin. If you are
hell-bent on believing the kidney-theft ring
stories, please see: http://urbanlegends.tqn.com/library/weekly/aa062997.htm And
I quote: "The National Kidney Foundation has repeatedly issued requests for actual
victims of organ thieves to come forward and tell their stories. None have." That's
"none" as in "zero." Not even your friend's cousin.
- Neiman Marcus doesn't really sell a $200 cookie recipe. And even if they do, we
all have it. And even if you don't, you can get a copy at:
http://www.bl.net/forwards/cookie.html Then, if you make the recipe, decide the
cookies are that awesome, feel free to pass the recipe on.
- If the latest NASA rocket disaster(s) DID contain plutonium that went to
particulate over the eastern seaboard, do you REALLY think this information would
reach the public via an AOL chain letter?
- There is no "Good Times" virus. In fact, you should never, ever, ever forward
any email containing any virus warning unless you first confirm that an actual site
of an actual company that actually deals with
viruses. Try: http://www.norton.com. And even then, don't forward it. We don't
care. And you cannot get a virus from a flashing IM or email, you have to
download....ya know, like, a FILE!
- There is no gang initiation plot to murder any motorist who flashes headlights at
another car driving at night without lights.
- If you're using Outlook, IE, or Netscape to write email, turn off the "HTML
encoding." Those of us on Unix shells can't read it, and don't care enough to save
the attachment and then view it with a web browser, since you're probably
forwarding us a copy of the Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe anyway.
- If you still absolutely MUST forward that 10th generation message from a friend,
at least have the decency to trim the eight miles headers showing everyone else
who's received it over the last 6
months. It sure wouldn't hurt to get rid of all the ">" that begin each line either.
Besides, if it has gone around that many times we've probably already seen it
- Craig Shergold (or Sherwood, or Sherman, etc.) in England is not dying of cancer
or anything else at this time and would like everyone to stop sending him their
business cards. He apparently is no longer a
"little boy" either.
- The "Make a Wish" foundation is a real organization doing fine work, but they
have had to establish a special toll free hot line in response to the large number of
Internet hoaxes using their good name and
reputation. It is distracting them from the important work they do.
- If you are one of those insufferable idiots who forwards anything that
"promises" something bad will happen if you "don't," then something bad will
happen to you if I ever meet you in a dark alley.
- Women really are suffering in Afghanistan, and PBS and NEA funding are still
vulnerable to attack (although not at the present time) but forwarding an e-mail
won't help either cause in the least. If you want to help, contact your local
legislative representative, or get in touch with Amnesty International or the Red
Cross. As a general rule, e-mail "signatures" are easily faked and mean nothing to
anyone with any power to do anything about whatever the competition is
Bottom Line... composing e-mail or posting something on the Net is as easy as
writing on the walls of a public restroom. Don't automatically believe it until it's
proven false... ASSUME it's false, unless there is proof that it's true.
DJ Watson is the author of 30 Days to Getting Organized and TeleTips. Her company,
sorganized Professional Business Operations provides information and solution so others
can grow their businesses! Samples of her two booklets, articles, sign up procedures for her
free newsletter, and other helpful information can be found on her websites at
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