A topic that comes up frequently in the classroom is "e-mail etiquette." While plenty is already published on the subject, here are a few items that are mentioned most often by participants as pet peeves.
1. Using the cc and bcc to inform people up the chain of command that a request has been made.
Many people state that they find this off-putting. The idea that we have so little trust in one another that we have to copy (or worse, blind-copy) managers and directors in an effort to "make" someone else do their work is repugnant to some.
2. Long narratives.
Lots of people in our classes report that they simply do not have time to read long stories. Their preference is bullet-pointed items. If they have questions or need details, they can ask.
3. The "Volley."
This is when one person sends an e-mail and the second person disagrees with its contents. (S)he then responds, putting his own argument in writing. The first party responds to the response and they contain exchanging messages back and forth until the thread is 19 pages long. Far better, most of our participants believe, to pick up the phone or go visit someone in person to iron out differences.
4. The "Answerer."
This is when someone expects an answer to each of their e-mails, even if it is just an FYI. They feel uncomfortable unless they receive a response of "OK" or "Message Received," "Good," or even an emoticon. Most people stated they don't need a response and don't like how receiving one clutters up their mailbox further.
Share with us some of your tips for e-mail success as well as your pet peeves.