Common Email Mistakes To Avoid

NOTE: These are the show notes & resources presented in episode #6 of Your Technology Tutor.  This program is available in the iTunes Store and can also be heard via the player at the bottom of this page.

Your Technology Tutor Program

Show Notes – Episode #6

Topic: Common Email Mistakes to Avoid

In this program Chet Davis will identify the most common email mistakes and provide suggestions for remedying them.

Links presented in the program


Electronic mail, most commonly referred to as email or e-mail since approximately 1993.

So many of us use email as a way to send messages, information, even photos, documents and video to friends and family — and many of us use Email technology as a communication tool for our professional life as well.
It’s often very easy to learn and use an email application, but there are some practices and procedures that some or even many folks do that are considered bad form… now I am not trying to be a tech-snob here, but there are definite outcomes if you find that you are guilty of these common email mistakes.

Let me also clarify, in this program I will not be covering the set-up of your email client, differences between POP and IMAP email Technologies, or recommendations of specific email applications… those are topics all scheduled for future editions of this program.

Common Email Mistakes To Avoid

  • Not adding a subject.  This can be a high-sign that the message is malicious or SPAM.  Heck even most spammers now days provide a creative subject line.  Plus I am thinking… if you dont have time to provide a subject, I don;t have time to read or respond.
  • Don’t email when you’re angry.  Experts agree that emotionally charged communication has little or no place in an email. Better in person or on the telephone. Email can be mis-understood… and it can be printed, kept for a long time and even shared with others you don’t want to see it.  If there is something you feel you must send via email that is sensitive emotionally, compose it and sleep on it overnight or show it to a colleague or friend to review.
  •  Avoid sending private or financial information via email.  Email (for most of us) is not a secure, private form of communication.  You should NEVER send credit card numbers or other data via email as it can be intercepted.  And if using your company email address – it is generally legal for your company to look at and through your email messages.
  • Use the Recipient Field appropriately
    • TO CC and BCC –
    • Primary recipient/s, those copied but whom you do not expect or desire a reply from; BCC = blind copied whom you want to make aware of the conversation but are not letting others know they are included.
    • SO If you had a meeting with a group of people but wish to follow-up and expect a reply from one person but want the rest of the group made aware of the information, Put the primary recipient in the TO field and the others in the BCC field.
    •  If you are sending a message to a large or even medium sized group – use the BCC field.  Don’t expose the email addresses (contact info) of people who signed up to help, for example in your church or synagogue, your school, or your youth sports league to others they may not wish to share it with. If you are sending email as a business, like a newsletter or regular news like a newsletter you really should be using an email service. I have tried several and now use two: iContact and aWeber. Links to both included in the show notes
  • To avoid sending a message to the wrong recipient or sending before you’re done with the message, enter the ‘TO” field as the last step. That way it won’t get sent, or at least not to the wrong person.
  •  Avoid forwarding jokes, cute stories, picture collections to everyone in your contact base.  Especially do NOT put their email address in either the TO or CC field.
    • If you really want to pass along this message to your friends or contacts, add their email addresses to the BCC field so no one else will get their info.
    • Plus, it is unfortunate but those stories that I see shared via email (and on Facebook) are many times hoaxes, falsehoods or mis-truths being circulated.  And I for one hate being duped myself but hate it even more if I have passed that along to others.
  • Avoid making your email message look like the latest project designed by Martha Stewart.  Colored fonts, background patterns and cute animated GIF (images) are no longer appropriate for today’s email practices.  Plus they take longer to load for many folks.
  • If it’s time sensitive – pick up the phone.  Many folks have email in-boxes that are overloaded, with not only appropriate communications but spam and other chatter. Today it is appropriate to give folks 24 hours to reply to a business email — if you need a reply sooner, again — pick up the phone.
  • “Politeness cannot be overdone”  Begin your email with a salutation, Hello Dear Chet…  And I recommend closing with a salutation like Thank you, Respectfully, or Regards.

Here are some additional tips I shared on the program for effective emailing

  • If long – use bullet points with a table of contents
  • Keep separate discussion in separate emails
  • Professionals use a Professional Email Address
  • Avoid Long subject lines – keep it to 50 or less characters (with first 20 characters conveying the importance of your message)
  • MY pet peeve – ‘Typos are not my fault’. We see this on folks sending from their smartphone or tablet.  Yes it is your fault is my opinion.  I know that auto-correction can mess things up.  You can turn it off if it continually messes you up.  But if the message comes from you, you are responsible.

Cool Find

This week – it’s an app available for both the iOS (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch) and the Android platform called Sleepmaker Apps.  Actually there are 6 apps in their collection.
Before you think I am suggesting some potion or sorcery — let me clear up what Sleepmaker Apps are… they are streaming audio, each with different recordings designed to help you fall asleep (or just relax).

They have 5 different apps Rain, Storms, Streams, Waves, Wildlife and their All In One app that contains  the sounds from all of the 5 separate packages.

Each package has multiple variations of sounds – for example on the Sleepmaker Waves – free there are 20 different sounds with a simple start and stop button. Press the little ‘i’ (for information) button and you are taken to the countdown timer where you can set the sound to play for anywhere from 1 minute up to 23 hours and 59 minutes!

I have enjoyed and benefited from this app while traveling and at home.  When in a hotel, traveling to present my workshops & seminars I sometimes find it difficulty to get to sleep that first night in a different hotel.  These help me relax, clear my mind and get to sleep.
The free versions are great — which are $2.99 US for the individual titles and $5.99 for the All In One present the same sounds with no i-Advertisements (screen ads) and additional features like glowing timer (easy to view in the dark).

These apps are created by the developer named ‘Software X’.  You can find out more about these apps on their blog here Sleepmaker Apps