5 Email Habits That Send the Wrong Message

Abusive Subject Line Behavior
Intention: By typing the word "URGENT," "ACTION ITEM" or "READ ME" in the subject line, she is hoping to stress the actionable items of her email. Her message is clear. Perception: Her subject line implies that she presumes her message is more important than any other correspondence you might have received. The perception is that she is over-confident and thinks very little of your time.

Answering The Wrong Question
Intention: When a colleague on a group email answers questions that are under your purview before you have a chance to. He's saving his colleague the hassle of answering—hey, he knows the answer too! Perception: It's the online version of shouting out the answer without raising your hand. His colleague might think that he is undermining their authority or worse—out to get their job.

Copyediting A Coworker
Intention: He wants to ensure that the higher ups see a clean, well-spoken document. By editing his coworker's email and resending it, he ensures that the grammatically correct email is higher in the supervisor's inbox. Perception: Public shaming of a colleague is never going to get him anywhere. Both the colleague and the supervisor are made aware of this one-upsmanship. And neither of them like it.

CC'ing Up
Intention: When you're having an email exchange with a co-worker, and s/he escalates the conflict by sneakily CCing a higher-up. She's resolving the issue efficiently by letting a higher-up in on the conflict. Perception: She's sneaky, conniving and out to make them look bad. Even more nefarious: the BCC.

Instant Follow Up
Intention: He wants to make sure you've received and read his email—calling or emailing right away seems like the logical way to find out. Perception: Give me a break! If you expect an instant response to a query, the more efficient route is to pick up the phone. Following up shortly after sending an email makes you seem impatient and self-righteous.



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