How Rude Are You?

Nothing like a fun and innocuous listicle to make you suddenly paranoid about the 306 emails you send on average before lunch. Yes, email strips a conversation bare. Tones are easy to misconstrue. But in a today's workplace, emails are necessary so you may as well learn to sound pleasant as you're sounding the alarm. Here are a few tips about rude emails from our friends at

1. The Compulsive CC And Reply All
CCing people all the time is one of the most annoying things you can do via email. I'd say it's the most annoying, but this honor is bestowed upon the excessive "reply all." If someone sends an email to you and a bunch of other people, do you really think every recipients needs to get another email from you saying "thanks?" They don't. 

2. The Way-Too-Brief
All too often, the cause of the email conflict is an imbalance between the effort in the initial email and the effort in the response to that email. When someone types up a detailed paragraph outlining important issues, they expect you to respond carefully. Sending back "Got it" or "Noted" just doesn't do the trick. This is unfortunate because this is rarely the sender's intent. The best way to avoid being misinterpreted in a brief response is to share your intent. Even responding with "I'm a little busy but should be able to read it later this week" comes across much better than "Got it," which a lot of people will interpret as indifference.

3. The "URGENT" Subject Line
Subject lines that say "URGENT" or "ASAP" show complete disregard for the recipient. If your email is that urgent, pick up the phone and give the person a call.

The key to avoiding "URGENT" subject lines is twofold. First, if the issue is best dealt with in any form other than email, then that's how you should be dealing with it. Second, if this is not the case, then the issue lies in your ability to create a strong subject line. After all, people check their email frequently, so as long as your subject line catches their eye, it will get the job done. If a client needs an answer today, then simply make your subject line "Client Needs Response Today." This maintains the sense of urgency without setting a rude, desperate tone. 

4. The Debbie Downer
Sending emails that consistently tell people what they do wrong and what they shouldn't be doing really takes a toll. Even if you are trying to offer constructive criticism, you need to avoid negativity in your emails at all costs. 

Whenever you find yourself using engative words like "don't," "can't," "won't" or "couldn't," turn them into positives. Making this change transforms the entire tone of the message. For example, instead of saying, "You can't complete reports like this in the future," say, "Next time you complete a report, please..."

5. The Robot
It's easy to think of email as a way to get something done quickly, but when you do this to the extreme, you come across as inhuman. You wouldn't walk into someone's office and hand them a report to do without acknowledging them somehow. Jumping straight into the nitty-gritty might seem like the most effective thing to do, but it leaves a lasting negative impression. Fixing this one is simple. Just take an extra second to greet the person you're writing to. This keeps the tone much more respectful than it would be if you were to simply send assignments. 

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