Here are 8 tips to keep in mind when hitting the REPLY and FWD buttons in your email program:
- If the Subject: line is now filled with RE:s to the point that the Subject: line is too long to view or understand easily — start a new email with an updated Subject:.
- Never FORWARD an e-mail without a personal comment about why you are forwarding. To do so without comment lacks courtesy. If it is a topic that you think someone would like or be interested in, at the very least type a short note and tell them why or don’t forward at all.
- Avoid hitting REPLY and top posting with a one-line comment and no greeting or closing. You could be perceived as terse or demanding.
- Carefully look at who is in the Cc: and To: fields before replying. If there are other folks in the Cc: field and your response will be necessary for them to know, then hit REPLY ALL. Only engage “REPLY TO ALL” with discretion as most times your message is not necessary for “all” to know. If you need clarification or if your comments are not for ALL, then only email the sender with your questions or comments.
- Setup your address book so that you can click on contact names and send them an email. Don’t find an old email, open it and hit REPLY and start typing about an unrelated issue. This is the lazy man’s approach.
- If an e-mail has been clearly forwarded a bazillion times, don’t forward it again just because it says to do so. No matter how righteous the topic, if you must forward, down-edit all the back and forth and leave in only the meat of the matter.
- When you hit REPLY feel free to take the liberty to adjust the Subject: field so it is more reflective of the current topic of discussion.
- I know I’ve said this before, but….. do not forward virus warnings. Most are urban legends and are false. The only time you would email about virus warnings is because you know you’re infected. You know this because a reputable virus site or your virus software has confirmed this fact and as a courtesy you want to warn those you may have inadvertently infected.
When it comes to the efforts you choose to make in your day-to-day e-mail activities, paying attention to little details like those above can foster long-term positive relationships and clarity in your communications.