Professional Development for Healthcare Professions Blog

Monday Technology Tip- Oh Email How I Love to Hate You

Posted by Chad Sines on Mon, Sep 26, 2011 @ 03:28 PM

Email BehaviourEmail. We all use it, many use it wrong, many more get upset when others use it wrong. After spending 20 minutes deleting junk from my inbox I figure this article would be good therapy for me, so here goes.

Stop Sending Emails

I get 200-300 emails a day. Eventually you probably will too. Sadly these are all legit business stuff. Not spam. If it is fast and simple, just IM. (And then stop IMing them).  If I need to know now and you need input, call me.  If it is sort of big news, Facebook it. If you are my mommy, you can do whatever you want because no one messes with mommy. If you are Ed McMahon and I won Publisher’s Clearinghouse, you can also do whatever you want.

A Professional Email Address

If you do not know about this yet, then you are clearly not reading these blogs. Shame on you. Go read this one. If you have read it and still not changed your email I am guessing you really like limiting your job opportunities and your networking abilities.

All CAPS/Red/Bold Text

We are not kids. All caps is a temper tantrum on the Internet. We put kids in time out for that. Throw in some bold red lettering and you appear to have had an uncontrollable breakdown on the Internet. The only thing that makes this worse is when you do it on a listserve or from a professional email group. Everyone will see you as an unprofessional person who is not in control of their faculties and best to be avoided or minimized. Instead send a normal email with black text, no bold. If that does not work, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and someone else invented certified mail.

Bold/Colored text for adults

Use bold for clarity. The main headings on this blog are bold so you can read my bits of wisdom. The link under professional email address is blue so you know it is a link. If I posted something with a deadline I might do this We have a webinar on September 28th. Be sure to register ASAP.  Color and bold should be used for clarity not ranting. 

The BCC:

If you are sending an email and you want to send it to someone else as well but do not want the main recipient to see that you are sending it to that other person, use the TO: field for the main recipient. Use the BCC: for the person you want to get a copy but do not want the main recipient to see. This is really good if there is a conflict, you need a “witness” to an email, or you want to send yourself a copy. Essentially both people get a copy, but the main recipient does not know about the BCC person. If the main recipient replies, it only goes back to you. The BCC gets nothing.

Reply/Reply All

If someone sends you an email with a bunch of other people in the TO: field, choose REPLY to send the reply to the sender. Do not choose REPLY ALL unless you really need everyone on the email to see what you have to say. This drives people insane. The other 15 really do not care about the record rainfall you ust had.

Jokes/Forwards- Avoid making people hate you

Never, ever, ever, in a million years, forward jokes (which are rarely funny), virus warnings (which are usually not real), or anything to people unless they have said “Yes, I love when people send me lots of mail I do not ask for.” Never send these to work colleagues. Ever. Never. Work email is for work, not crazy cat pictures. It also most likely violates company policy and could get you fired.

Phising Emails

That guy from Nigeria who will give you a million dollars if you send him $1000 is just trying to scam you as is most anyone who is asking for money now in exchange for compensation later. Often people get suckered into providing their email password and then scams go out through their email. Next thing you know Uncle Billy is stuck in London and needs $500 or so the email says. Also if you get ANYTHING from a company that has to do with finances, do not click the link in the email. Instead go to the browser and type the address in. Paypal and bank site scams are very prevelant and they look very legit too.


If you are on a listserv, such as Google Groups, and someone sends something like say “Hey all just reminding you all to send your forms in by Friday” do not reply to the entire list with “I already did.” Some of those lists have 100 or more people on it who do not need to see 100 replies from people saying they sent it, did not sent it, or they have no idea what is going on. Make sure any reply is to the sender. Better yet, do not reply at all. Those types of messages come out as reminders are for people who did not do something. If you did it, they are not talking to you.

Read Receipt

Generally this is useless because the person you are trying to be prove received the email about the $20 they owe you from last month's bar tab most likely will refuse to let it send the receipt anyway. Plus some ISPs seem to block them. Delivery receipts work sometimes. Those come from the server and simply say “The server got the email and we did something with it.” They are not that special but could be of use if you notice someone ignoring something important.


Call me back now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! or Are you serious????????? or What were you thinking !?!?!?! just makes people want to pluck the keys off your keyboard, smash them, melt them, and then flush them down the nearest toilet. One exclamation point or one question mark is plenty. 

Business Emails

At some point you will be on a work or professional association group that will require many emails going back and forth. Only send emails that are important. Only send it to those who really need to know. Do not add fluff about your new house, the crazy neighbor, etc. Keep it professional and short. Do not reply with nonsense like “ok” “good to know” “I agree” unless they ask for a response. Obviously if people are asking for input that is different, but having 20 people reply with “see you then” is just asking for someone to scream. Have clear rules that the group is all business, nothing more, period, end of story, and you will leave everyone happy.

Well I think that was good therapy for me. I hope you learned something and will break any of these bad habits you might have. Arg. I just got 47 emails in the time it took to write this. There better be no bears on trampolines in there.

Topics: Professional Development, Technology Tip