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Top 10 Email Mistakes to Fix to Boost Communication

Top 10 Email Mistakes to Fix to Boost Communication

OK, it’ s back to school and back to work. In my world, that means my in-box is flooded which is typically good news (yeah!). BUT, I still get email that rattles my bones and makes me scratch my head.

My Top 10 Pet Peeves About Email

  1. Forgetting a Signature Line – Sometimes I need your company name, mailing address, or correct title. Without a proper signature, you make me work too hard.
  2. Emails with a Date, But Not the Day of The Week – We run our lives in patterns; we know we drop off the kids on Tuesday and Thursdays; karate is on Wednesday and Fridays, and Monday kicks off our weekly management meeting. Sending an event announcement without also including the day of the week makes it harder to say yes.
  1. Hitting Reply All– Really? This issue is still a problem? Yes! I just got stuck in a loop last week about a business event with everyone individually sending back their RSVP to all. Ugh! In email, less is more.
In #email, when RSVPing to an event, Reply…Don’t Reply All! Click To Tweet
  1. Keeping it too Informal – I guest lecture at many universities and am astounded by the emails from students with “hey” as an opening salutation. Here are your choices – Hi, Hello, and Dear; yep, that’s it!
  1. Not Changing the Subject Line – I learned quickly that changing the subject line every single time boosts communication: both of you know exactly what the topic is versus winding your way through a long thread of emails. You can also try putting your entire message in the subject line too as in “Confirmed for Wed 9/28 for our meeting at noon.”
  2. Omitting a Deadline – If you need something, say something! In other words, if you need by bio or headshot for a speech, please tell me that you need it by Friday, the 13th so that I may plan accordingly.
Include deadlines in your #email so recipients can plan accordingly. Click To Tweet
  1. Sending an Email and Immediately Also Leaving a Voice Mail –Don’t you trust me? Is your message doubly important that you have to be for sure, for sure? Here’s an idea – Leave a proper voice mail and then call a few days later if you haven’t heard back.
  2. Writing a LONG Dissertation –Email works best for quick, cut to the chase communication. If you must communicate a long message break up long texts with bullets and headers; or, better yet, create an attached document.
  3. Using Email Instead of a Phone Call – Remember that if the topic is nuanced or the conversation critical, pick up the phone. In other words, email is your poor choice as it masks emotions; we often don’t know if you’re joking, laughing, or crying. After all, I’ve even thought my hubby was mad at me when he was merely making a joke that didn’t translate well.
Avoid #email if a topic is critical or needs clarification. Pick up the phone instead. Click To Tweet
  1. Sending a “just following up” Email – This is my #1 pet peeve and I’ve written about it before. However, the onslaught continues. What these emails communicate to me is “I’m selling you and you haven’t responded yet, so could you please sign on the dotted line already.” Or, you owe me an answer and I haven’t heard from you. If so, change the subject line to work harder and better.I’ve read books on productivity and taming our inbox monster. When I started changing subject lines, adding the day of the week, asked questions, and picked up the phone, my communication got clearer and faster.

I implore you to pick just one item from above and make a change; it works!

What’s your experience?


  1. You are the master of communicating with people and making it easy by changing email titles!

    Sometimes I don’t even need to read your reply because you made it evident by updating the subject line. It’s a great courtesy, wonderfully efficient, and shows respect for other’s time (something many disregard). I WISH MORE PEOPLE WOULD DO THIS! Bravo. Hope this tip is read by many…

  2. Amen! You know hate when folks don’t change the subject line; maybe slowly we’ll start a revolution of change.

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