When somebody asks you what you do for a living, perhaps your response is “PR practitioner,” or “I’m in marketing” or “I’m in content development.” Something that can be put on a business card (remember them?) or an email signature line.
If your interrogator were truly persistent, and followed up with, “Yeah, but what do you do for a living?” and you were the obsessively honest type, your answer would most likely be, “I read, write and send emails for a living.”
If you’re in communications, you’re living in your email inbox. Maybe you even have nightmares about your email inbox. It’s where the business action is—and where it will remain for the foreseeable future, despite what texting junkies might tell you.
Email is not going away anytime soon—it’s merely migrating to mobile devices. It has undeniable marketing power—according to the Adobe 2013 Digital Publishing Report, 71% of mobile purchasing decisions are most influenced by emails from companies. Email for both internal and external business communications has outlasted the fax machine and instant messaging, and as long as workers continue to ply their trades in messy cubicles and offices, it’s under no threat from video services like Skype and Google Hangouts.
So we’re stuck with it, and as with any tool or technology that we don’t wholeheartedly love but must contend with (like the New York subway system), we have our pet peeves—bad behaviors that irk us to no end.
So, in the spirit of airing grievances at the end of a long week, PR News asked its community on Facebook: “What’s your biggest email pet peeve at work?”
The most instructive replies:
- Using “reply all.”
- Being sent an email and then having the sender pop his/her head into my office literally moments later and saying, "I just sent you an email...." followed by telling me the entire content of said email.
- 1,000 word e-mails when a simple “yes” or “no” would suffice.
- Using all caps.
- Not cc-ing when you're supposed to.
- Being sent large files over a weekend or vacation.
- When people don't pay attention to the correct spelling of your name.
- Not replying within 24 hours.
- Dear Jose/Carlos/etc. Ummm my name is Eric.
- Any email with poor grammar or punctuation.
- Ridiculously long signatures.
- Subject lines that have nothing to do with the message itself.
- Smiley faces. They aren't cute and they aren't professional.
- Anything with “please advise immediately” goes to the "I’ll respond tomorrow" pile.
- "See below."
In case you were wondering, my biggest pet peeve about the New York subway system is public nail clipping. Talk about nightmares.
Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI