The advice of Peggy Duncan, author of Conquer E-mail Overload With Better Habits, Etiquette, and Outlook, was recently featured in Shape Magazine (see you never know where you’ll find words of work related wisdom!).
The short article lists 5 of the most common email questions.
- When Do I need to use the CC line?
To separate the people who need to respond from those you just want to share the information with. To is for response or action required. CC is for keeping people in the loop.
- What should go in the subject line?
Be specific, Duncan advices. If you are writing to let someone know the time for a meeting has changed, write Today’s meeting is now at 2 p.m. in the subject. Think of a subject like a newspaper headline. The most crucial piece of information.
- Is it ok to use emoticons?
Smiley faces are not acceptable. “If you wouldn’t put it on company letterhead, don’t put it in an email,” according to Duncan. Now, once you know your office culture, it might be ok to use a smiley face in a semi-personal email to your coworker, but never ever to a client.
- When do you hit reply all?
Rarely. Duncan advises, “almost never.” Reply all just gunks up everyone’s inbox. Refer to CC above and only reply to those who need the answer or need to be kept in the loop.
- When do I send a follow-up email?
Give 24 to 48 hours for a response advises Duncan. If it’s urgent and requires an answer before then, don’t be shy about calling the person.
There are even more tips in Duncan’s book. Now if only everyone in the office would read it and take her advice!