Don’t be an email asshole

Have you ever received an email and, while reading it, thought that the person must be in a bad mood, or maybe the guy’s just an asshole? There are a few ways you can use email and not be “that guy.”

There is a subject line. Use it. The subject line is there for you to quickly summarize what the email is about. Take a few seconds and make it meaningful.  “Minutes from the 7/13 meeting – no response required” is much better than “Last meeting.”

Keep your emails short. People receive a lot of emails these days. Don’t waste anyone’s time.

Be polite, dammit. Didn’t your mother teach you to say “please” and “thank you”? Being polite in an email goes a long way. Polite words are a great way to overcome the lack of body language present in an email.

Open and close. Start with a salutation and end with a valediction. “Hi, Amy.” “Sincerely, Adam.” Would you start a conversation with someone without greeting them first? Would you leave without saying goodbye?

Keep the signature short and professional. This is one of my pet peeves: the extra-long email signature. Keep it to five or six lines. No need for Chuck Norris quotes. You probably don’t really need those mailing addresses or fax numbers, either. I prefer name, website, social media and phone number.

I think that these are pretty simple. Without much effort at all, you too can stop being an email asshole.

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