Forwarding E-Mails...

…Or Learning to Show Others You Appreciate Their Time…

I often find myself receiving forwarded e-mails with little to no context or prior conversation. This baffles me. How could someone feel ok forwarding me an e-mail chain of twenty or so messages and the only notes from the sender is their automated signature block?

I immediately trash these…

Then comes the inevitable drive-by, “Hey, did you get that e-mail I forwarded you?” Nope, never received it. If someone needs an explanation to make them feel better I will say something like I may have seen it, but at a glance it looked like it was an accidental forward and I canned it.

”Oops…what was it about anyway?

Note: Do not make the mistake above…

We have all done it. If you say you haven’t you are only kidding yourself. That is fine to do, as long as deep inside you are aware of it.

You have read this e-mail chain, you know the reason you feel it needs to be passed on, take the initiative and put a quick summary at the top. Hit them up on the chat app of the day, or, and this is crazy, pick up the phone and talk to the person you are forwarding it to. Hell, call them, forward the e-mail, and then discuss the content you find interesting.

SO MANY OPTIONS!!!

Never blind forward an e-mail and expect people to care about the contents as much as you do…

You are wasting their time. It is that simple. Know your audience and respect their time as if it were your own. Why force someone else to dig through an entire string of poorly edited text just because you found a bit of info you found interesting. Sum it up. Heck, call it an executive summary if you want to sound fancy and your boss is one of the receiving parties. Folks LOVE the feeling of receiving an executive summary.

It is not just for them, it is for you too…

When you summarize your thoughts it gives you a moment to analyze what you are thinking and be sure everything is clear. It helps you gather your thoughts. Because, if the e-mail content is as forwardworthy ™ as you think it is, someone is eventually going to ask you to sum it up verbally in a meeting or huddle or scrum-whatever-the-folks-are-doing-these-days. Now when asked to do this, usually on the spot, you already have your thoughts together. Too Easy!

Summary

Ok, I am about to land so I need to wrap this up. I have a many more thoughts on e-mail etiquette in a professional working environment, so I hope you don’t get too bored!

Thanks for reading…

10 comments

ex-punctis
Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019

I apologize for spamming. I just want to check if staticman v3 triggers rebuilds on your blog. Issue #264
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Dan
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Tuesday, Feb 5, 2019

Did you get everything sorted out?

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