Over the years, I’ve sent a few thousand emails. Less than some, more than others and I’ve developed a handful of normative behaviors in the process that others may find useful.
- My default on a group conversation is to always reply all. Communication is oxygen and I figure it is best to error on the side of overcommunicating. People can always choose to self-filter. I love that gmail includes an option to make reply-all the default. Everyone should set it that way.
- If I don’t reply all, in the first line I will use a minus symbol so the rest of the chain knows who (if anyone) has been removed.
- Concurrently, if I add people, I use a plus symbol so the rest of the chain knows as well.
- The only time I use BCC is to remove someone who made an introduction, and I will state that they are being BCCed
- I try to make the subject line clear and simple. The subject line should be evergreen (it should encompass the entirety of the conversation that needs to take place)
- If it can all be said in the subject line, I’ll end it with EOM so people know they don’t need to open it.
- This is less of an issue with chat programs like Slack being available.
- I hate email signatures that are more than a line or two.
- If my response can be said completely in emoji, you bet your ass I’m going to do it.
- I do only use emoji for positive responses though. No one wants to see 👎🏻 as the response to a request.
- I try to avoid sarcasm. It is much harder to be sarcastic in writing than it is in a higher fidelity form of communication.
What are your email norms? What email etiquette do you follow? Share it in the comments.