The Email Gods Made Me Do It

The Email Gods Made Me Do It

Email Etiquette Reminders
I’m not the queen of etiquette by any stretch of the imagination; I tend to speak my mind without always running my thoughts through a filter or if I’m super-busy my communications turn very matter-of-fact..

The Email Gods Made Me Do It

and can come across as rude. So this entry is just as much about reminding me, as much as anything. This whole topic is actually prompted by emailing a colleague, who had expressed an interest in talking to me through another colleague.

When I emailed her, I received an autoresponder stating that the email recipient receives too much spam and that she no longer accepts emails from people not on “œthe list”; the autoresponder then states that it “œapologizes for the inconvenience” but could I please fill out a form identifying myself and my purpose. EXCUSE ME? Does this not sound exactly like “œI am a VERY important person; you must APPLY for the privilege of corresponding with me by email. If I deem you worthy, I will let you know.”??? Some additional thoughts:


I get about 6 spam emails per day

      . Why? Because I have spam filters that I activate through my various email service providers and through outlook – I am also careful about what forms I fill out online that require my email address.2.

It’s not a huge effort on my part to check the spam folders

      each month in the web-based email applications and to check daily in my Outlook spam folder; it sure beats missing out on communicating with people who just don’t want to “œapply” to communicate with me. I’ve even had some great company solicitations that I couldn’t really say if I was technically on their email list but I hired them and loved their work!!

3. I also have extra code within my website to protect my email address – it’s not hard to have your IT person do this for you.

Challenge/response systems

I’ve emailed lots of people and I’ve only come across this lovely autoresponder twice, which is good news! It must not be used very often – probably because people HATE it as much as I do. Apparently they are called Challenge/Response Systems and here is the Wikipedia entry for them:

“Another method which may be used by internet service providers, by specialized services or enterprises to combat spam is to require unknown senders to pass various tests before their messages are delivered. These strategies are termed challenge/response systems or C/R. Some view their use as being as bad as spam since they place the burden of spam fighting on legitimate email senders — who it should be noted will often indeed give up at the slightest hindrance.”

Other Email Rules

let’s see what else can be a problem.


Not using your full name

      attached to your email address. Spammers tend to use only one name so I would never open an email that only had the person’s first name.2.

Leave your contact info in

      at LEAST your first email sent to someone – check to see if it’s in the line of emails when you are replying back and forth – you always want people to be able to contact you without having to look up your contact info elsewhere (if they even have it)

3. Use your company email address!!!! (I think there is another rule about multiple exclamation points but I am ignoring that one) I can’t stress this enough – it looks SO unprofessional to see If you have a business or work for a nonprofit or company, you NEED to have that name IN the email address. Talk to your webmaster or web hosting company to set up email attached to your website address – I’ve never seen a web host that didn’t offer basic free email accounts attached to your domain name.

4. When you send email to multiple people, don’t assume they want everyone else on your email list to see their email address. If it’s a committee or other group there is usually an implied permission (although it doesn’t hurt to ask), otherwise use the BCC function in your email program.

5. Make sure the subject line accurately reflects the email content – if you are talking on multiple subjects, send one for each topic. This sounds weird – I had this drilled into me by my IT team who needed to organize their emails by topic and if I buried a topic within another topic it might not get the attention it deserved. Yes – it was a direct threat but it worked!

6. Don’t send or forward emails with jokes, comments, cartoons or anything that could be even remotely construed as insensitive or prejudicial.

Calif. Mayor Who Sent White House Watermelon Patch E-Mail Quits


Watch more Howcast videos on AOL Video

My Inner Email Demons

Here are the ones I have a hard time following consistently!!


Be concise

      – we all get so many emails – no one wants to spend too much time reading2.

Use appropriate grammar, spelling and punctuation

      – I tend to replace all punctuation with dashes – I’ve been chastised since high school but can’t seem to get rid of the habit!

3. Answer all emails quickly (not the spam ones!!) – If I have to think about it before I can respond, it tends to go in the Think About It pile and sometimes gets lost!

4. Don’t put anything personal or confidential – think of each email as a postcard (no evelope) that the entire world could possibly read! I think I’ll post this one on my screen 

Here are some more interesting tidbits from Business Email Etiquette

Here is a great article that talks about WHEN to use email and when to discuss something in person. Email Etiquette: Has email turned us into chickens?

Related Articles:
Nonprofit Email Marketing – Taking our cues from the corporate world


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