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.
  1. 1.
    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.
  2. 2.
    Did I run spell-check?
    Trust me, there's a typo in there.
  3. 3.
    Do I have the right recipients?
    Is this complaint about billing procedures going to Carly your boss or Carol in Accounting?
  4. 4.
    Could this be better explained in bullets?
    If you're listing anything, the answer is yes. Take inspiration from this app.
  5. 5.
    Is sending this email worth the amount of trouble it'll likely cause?
    This thought alone has stopped me a number of times.
  6. 6.
    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.
  7. 7.
    Did I start with "Hi" and end with "Thanks"?
    This is not only polite, but improves the email's chances of being considered.
  8. 8.
    Did I end with a suggestion, a recommendation, or a proposal?
    Following up your point with recommendations separates leaders from workers.
  9. 9.
    Would I describe my email as "helpful"?
    If not, you're just making conversation.
  10. 10.
    Are any of my paragraphs longer than three sentences?
    Nobody wants to read long paragraphs. It's not a dissertation.
  11. 11.
    Did I sit on this thought for at least a minute?
    Give yourself just enough time to change your mind.
  12. 12.
    If I raised a problem with someone's idea, did I suggest a solution?
    Your job is not just to shoot things down.
  13. 13.
    Do I really need all those adjectives?
    Adjectives can help you tell a story, but they usually don't help you make a point.
  14. 14.
    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.
  15. 15.
    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.
  16. 16.
    Are my facts correct?
    It's not like you're running for president. Your credibility matters.