1. Sending or responding to all to CYA (cover your butt).
Stop sending to all if all do not have a need to know. You wanted to make sure you were covered so you're sending everyone on a list your answer -- whether they needed to know or not. Or you're sending a message to everyone because you're too lazy to select the appropriate recipients.
2. People trying to solve complex issues using e-mail.
You're part of a new committee, then the e-mail messages start, back and forth, dizzying speed, the more they come, the more confused you get. Pick up the phone!
3. Dirty e-mail messages.
These are those messages you receive loaded with those darn carets (>>>), or pages and pages of e-mail addresses that weren't protected using a blind copy feature. Is it too much to ask for the sender to clean dirty e-mails before sending them? Would you send a letter out on your company stationery like that? You can get rid of carets by pasting the message into Word and using the Find and Replace feature to find a caret and replace all of them with nothing. You can get rid of all the e-mail addresses just by deleting. Clean it up, then send it.
4. Subject lines that don't match the message.
Don't pull up an old message, hit Reply, and send me a message that has nothing to do with the previous one. Suppose you sent an e-mail message two months ago that said, "The monthly meeting has been cancelled." You pulled up that old message because the e-mail addresses were already in it. But this time, you wanted to let everyone know that coffee and donuts would be served at this month's meeting. At the very least, change the subject line!
5. Last-minute cancellations.
Cancelling a meeting at the last minute and letting me know via e-mail. I show up, "Oh, didn't you get my e-mail?" When did you send it? I left my office two hours ago, and now my whole day is shot.
People who wait until the last minute to ask you to do something as if you had nothing else to do. You know the work was in a pile on their desk, and while they were digging for something else, they found it, and sent you an e-mail message, marking it urgent. Then when the deadline isn't met, it's not their fault because they "gave it to you."
7. People who call you instead of checking their e-mail.
You've done your job, and sent an e-mail message to people with information they need. They end up calling you asking for the info because, "I'm too busy to check e-mail. Please always call me with the information or at least call me to let me know you sent it."
8. No response.
You send a legitimate e-mail message to someone who has requested information. The message clearly needs a response, but nothing happens. If you're too busy to hit Reply to say "No," you need to examine how you're working. Why did you make me waste your time and mine?
"Thanks," "Oh, OK." My goodness! You sent an e-mail message to 25 people, and 15 of them sent you a one-liner. Next time, put "No Reply Necessary" at the top.
Don't underline anything in a message (or on a Web page) that's not a hyperlink. I always move the mouse toward it thinking it'll take me somewhere.
11. Someone replying to my message without the previous message below it or attached to it.
I forgot what I asked them.
12. Smileys, emoticons.
If you wouldn't put a smiley face or emoticon on your business correspondence, you shouldn't put it in an e-mail message.
Those e-mails from you asking me to update my contact information. Your best customer is getting 10 of these a day! And, I don't even remember who these people are. I went to the Plaxo Web site and opted out of receiving any of these annoying updates. Make sure you opt out all of your e-mail addresses!
14. Senseless Autoresponders.
How about the one that says "Thank you for your e-mail message. I will respond to you as soon as I can." What a complete waste of my time to open this stupid response. It's almost like the letter carrier leaving me a message in my mailbox saying, "I picked up your mail today. I'll bring you more when I get it."
15. Words from grown, business people using shortcuts such as "4 u" (instead of "for you"), "Gr8" (for great) in business-related e-mail.
Are you lazy, or just can't type or spell? If you wouldn't send a company letter out like that, it shouldn't be in an e-mail message. (This is different from legitimate abbreviations a company may develop, such as NRN for No Reply Necessary.)
16. Read receipt.
As if you're checking up on me to see if I open your message. I don't know why people waste time doing this, because most people probably have this feature turned off in their e-mail software.
17. Too many attachments.
You should get permission before sending someone an e-mail message with more than two attachments. Instead of sending five PDFs, consider combining them into one document.
18. Attachment and no body.
If you send an e-mail message about an event and no explanation in the body, especially if it's a large file and would drain my ink supply if I printed it. If the details are in the body of the e-mail, I don't need the attachment. I don't need to see how creative you were with your flyer. I just need the info.
19. Abuse of my e-mail address.
I register for an event, then every week, I'm getting notices of deals, webinars, teleseminars, etc.
20. Recipient names not private.
No bcc and pages of e-mail addresses in the message.
21. Passing on hoaxes instead of checking them out first.
What would make you believe that Bill Gates would send you $5,000 just for sending an e-mail message? And did you know that the Teddy Bear file you so willingly deleted from your computer was a legitimate Windows file? Check it our first at http://www.sarc.com/.
22. Who are you?
People I met briefly some time ago sending me an e-mail message without reminding me who they are.
23. Messages without signature lines.
Your e-mail signature is a great way to let people know more about you, especially when your e-mail address is something like
24. Adding me to your e-mail list.
I just met you, barely remember you, and I'm already on your distribution list for your newsletter, thoughts for the day, and news you think I want to know.
25. Bad grammar and punctuation.
You can't hide behind an administrative assistant to clean up your act, so go take some classes and learn how to write and spell. Some messages are so bad, it's like reading a foreign language, and it wastes my time trying to figure out your mess.
26. Work e-mail abuse.
People sending me non-work-related e-mail from their job. I don't want my name and e-mail address showing up in company reports.
27. Unprofessional e-mail IDs.
People who would send a business e-mail message using addresses such as ; ;