Why Emails Suck

The following are some DOs and DON’Ts for writing emails in the tech world.

  1. Omit needless words. Strunk and White’s most memorable advice is number one on the list.
  2. Don’t forward a long email chain with the instructions “See below” or the question “Any thoughts?” Point out which parts are relevant and why.
  3. Remove parts of the email chain that are now irrelevant.
  4. Use a new email subject when you start a new topic. It is hard to keep track of conversations when the email title is not related to the topic.
  5. Send a description with your meeting requests. The meeting purpose shouldn’t be a puzzle.
  6. Use bullets and lists; avoid long paragraphs.
  7. When sending three or more files, use a .zip file.
  8. Add your contact information often. I hate it when I have to search through all my emails to find the very first time you included your phone number.
  9. Avoid weird fonts and colors.
  10. Use a simple email signature–without an image if possible.