1. Stop saying “attached please find.” This phrase has been rode hard and put up wet, so let it die a peaceful death on the pasture beside two spaces after a period. Be imaginatively simple (“I’ve attached a report detailing how obnoxious the use of passive voice can be in correspondence”). Use the handy hyperlink function to link to documents you’ve published to the web.
  2. A plus sign can be a complete sentence. Ever get an email where you can’t help but you know exactly who can? Tire of explaining that in a sentence? Reply with a “+ John Smith” and hope the sender has the courtesy to bcc you on the replies (see #5).
  3. Take back an email you’ve already sent. With Gmail you can enable a setting that gives you about 5 seconds to retract an email completely, after you’ve hit send. Here’s how.
  4. Get real creepy with this free tool. Boomerang is a free Gmail plug-in that let’s you schedule when emails go out, track who opens your emails and create reminders to follow up. It’s also let’s you create and store common email copy and responses.
  5. Never use bcc except in this one case. To avoid that dirty feeling you get when you blind copy someone, don’t do it. CC works just fine, puts everything out there in the open, and helps you avoid unnecessary reputational risk. Now, here’s the one instance where bcc makes sense: email introductions. You know when somebody introduces you to someone via email (or uses the plus sign as a complete sentence, as described above), and then you and the new person start emailing back and forth, and the introducer gets dragged along for the whole boring ride on cc because neither of you knows exactly when/how to drop them from the chain? Bcc the introducer on the first reply, but note at the top you’ve done so by writing “bcc: John Smith.” This lets the everyone know you’ve gotten the email and are following through, while simultaneously letting the introducer off the chain when the other person replies.

 

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