STOP! What to Think Before You Send That Email
Often we send emails we regret and can't take back. So follow rule #1: If in doubt, don't. But if that doesn't do it for you, here are 16 things to consider before you hit the SEND button.
- •Might this hurt someone's feelings?Yeah, you feel strongly about this email, but consider the impact of those feelings on everyone receiving it, especially others invested in the project.
- •Did I run spell-check?Trust me, there's a typo in there.
- •Do I have the right recipients?Is this complaint about billing procedures going to Carly your boss or Carol in Accounting?
- •Could this be better explained in bullets?If you're listing anything, the answer is yes. Take inspiration from this app.
- •Is sending this email worth the amount of trouble it'll likely cause?This thought alone has stopped me a number of times.
- •How would my HR department react to this if I accidentally cc'd them?If you wouldn't want them seeing it, assume they will.
- •Did I start with "Hi" and end with "Thanks"?This is not only polite, but improves the email's chances of being considered.
- •Did I end with a suggestion, a recommendation, or a proposal?Following up your point with recommendations separates leaders from workers.
- •Would I describe my email as "helpful"?If not, you're just making conversation.
- •Are any of my paragraphs longer than three sentences?Nobody wants to read long paragraphs. It's not a dissertation.
- •Did I sit on this thought for at least a minute?Give yourself just enough time to change your mind.
- •If I raised a problem with someone's idea, did I suggest a solution?Your job is not just to shoot things down.
- •Do I really need all those adjectives?Adjectives can help you tell a story, but they usually don't help you make a point.
- •Are ALL messages in the thread you're forwarding appropriate for everyone's eyes?Previous emails in the thread may be more confidential. Don't be your office's Edward Snowden.
- •Would this be more appropriately addressed in a one-on-one or team conversation?More often than not, an eye-to-eye conversation is more productive that an email, so don't always take the easy route.
- •Are my facts correct?It's not like you're running for president. Your credibility matters.