On a daily basis I come across people using mail in a way which is making everything harder then it had to be for everyone involved. There is a few very simple rules which I think all should obey to maximize the productivity and all in all use of e-mail as a serious way of communication in the twenty-first century.
The grand majority of all mails that arrive in my mailbox is spam and different types of commercials. Let’s jump straight into the action and list the rules as simple as they are.
For all mails
- The “To”-field is to be used for people directly affected by the mail and from which the sender would like to see an answer.
- The “Cc”-field is to be used for people which are affected but who shall not answer the mail but who should read it.
- The “Bcc”-field is only to be used when a message need to reach a third part anonymously.
Sending a mail
When sending a mail you have a number of options which you need to remember. All composed mails shall have a subject, list of receiver(s) and a body. The subject shall be a brief summary of the issue and the body is to contain the main text. A mail with just a header or just a body is not finished to send to anyone, it is an instant message and should be sent by a service made for instant messages.
Simple, is it not? We continue.
Reply to a mail
When replying to a mail you shall not change the subject to something new. The subject should always be RE: so that the chain of mails is kept intact. If new receivers are added it should be noted in the mail body so that all know who is on the list of recipients and preferably also why the new people were added.
Forwarding a mail
First of all, ask yourself why the mail you are about to forward should be forwarded. While asking you this, also ask who need to see it. While forwading a mail the rules is very much like the ones when you reply. The subject must be kept intact and preceeded by a FW:, this so that all can keep track of the conversation in a threaded manor.
There you go, follow these easy steps and people will take you more serious in the same way as by making them use the same ruleset, you wont be spamed with mail and information which you have no intrest in. At least not at work anyway.