‘See Below’ for 15 Email Pet Peeves

15 pet peeves about emailWhen 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:

  1. Using “reply all.”
  2. 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.
  3. 1,000 word e-mails when a simple “yes” or “no” would suffice.
  4. Using all caps.
  5. Not cc-ing when you're supposed to.
  6. Being sent large files over a weekend or vacation.
  7. When people don't pay attention to the correct spelling of your name.
  8. Not replying within 24 hours.
  9. Dear Jose/Carlos/etc. Ummm my name is Eric.
  10. Any email with poor grammar or punctuation.
  11. Ridiculously long signatures.
  12. Subject lines that have nothing to do with the message itself.
  13. Smiley faces. They aren't cute and they aren't professional.
  14. Anything with “please advise immediately” goes to the "I’ll respond tomorrow" pile.
  15. "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



About Steve Goldstein

Steve Goldstein is editorial director of events for Access Intelligence’s PR News brand, which encompasses premium, how-to content, data and competitive intelligence for public relations professionals; PR News Online; PR News conferences, webinars and awards programs; and PR News guidebooks. Previously at AI Steve was editorial director of min, min ’s b2b and minonline as well as managing editor of CableFAX: The Magazine and CableWorld. Before joining Access Intelligence, he was executive editor of World Screen News, and editor of Film/Tape World, which covered film, television and commercial production in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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  • taawd

    I’ve never understood “Please advise.” Didn’t you already ask, in some form, for the answer earlier in the email?

    • Bruce Walker

      Yeah, it seems redundant, but folks are driven to it in frustration by certain recipients who don’t read entire emails and so miss the earlier request. Unfortunately, it’s never actually useful.

    • http://www.facebook.com/laurie.bick.9 Laurie Bick

      I’ve always understood “Please advise” to be a professionally short way of asking, “Please let me know what you want to do/what you want me to do.” So, even though you usually do ask the same thing earlier in the email, to me, this is also a quick way of reminding someone at the close of the email to, “Please get back to me.” ‘Sounds a lot better than “Please reply” or something similar since that seems to imply that you normally don’t respond.

  • Bruce Walker

    I’ll bite. What’s wrong with “See below”?

  • Pingback: How to Use Great Writing to Draw Stakeholders In, Not Scare Them Away | PR NewsPR News

  • Snap N McGarrett

    16. Throwing grenades on a Friday at 5:00P, i.e., composing an unpleasant message and then holding it until you’re ready to shut down the computer and run the second the message clears the outbox. See also: Wrecking people’s weekend with dread for the following week.

  • obermd

    I’d like to add “no subject”. If you can’t give me a quick summary of your email it obviously isn’t important.

  • J Walker

    How about public nail filing?

  • Christian

    I think ‘see below’ is fine if you highlight the relevant parts. I often use a modified version, “See client’s response highlighted in yellow below” AND then
    I follow up with a call to action (FYI, please advise, process order). You can’t
    expect others to know what to do with the information without giving them