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Email Habits That Could Get You In Trouble – Work Email Etiquette

Tom Pennington, Getty Images News

Have you ever sent an Email with good intentions that ended up causing significant drama?   Sometimes an Email can send the wrong message, and since many of us were never really taught the dos and dont’s of writing an Email, I wanted to share this great article from

If you’re guilty of any of the following scenarios, share your story by leaving us a comment below.  Hopefully we can help each other out, so we don’t make that ‘Email’ mistake again, especially at work.

5 Email Habits That Send the Wrong Message, courtesy of

Abusive Subject Line Behavior
Intention: By typing the word “URGENT,” “ACTION ITEM” or “READ ME” in the subject line, she is hoping to stress the actionable items of her email. Her message is clear.

Perception: Her subject line implies that she presumes her message is more important than any other correspondence you might have received. The perception is that she is over-confident and thinks very little of your time.

Answering The Wrong Question
Intention: When a colleague on a group email answers questions that are under your purview before you have a chance to. He’s saving his colleague the hassle of answering—hey, he knows the answer too!

Perception: It’s the online version of shouting out the answer without raising your hand. His colleague might think that he is undermining their authority or worse—out to get their job.

Copyediting A Coworker
Intention: He wants to ensure that the higher ups see a clean, well-spoken document. By editing his coworker’s email and resending it, he ensures that the grammatically correct email is higher in the supervisor’s inbox.

Perception: Public shaming of a colleague is never going to get him anywhere. Both the colleague and the supervisor are made aware of this one-upsmanship. And neither of them like it.

CC’ing Up
Intention: When you’re having an email exchange with a co-worker, and s/he escalates the conflict by sneakily CCing a higher-up. She’s resolving the issue efficiently by letting a higher-up in on the conflict.

Perception: She’s sneaky, conniving and out to make them look bad. Even more nefarious: the BCC.

Instant Follow Up
Intention: He wants to make sure you’ve received and read his email—calling or emailing right away seems like the logical way to find out.

Perception: Give me a break! If you expect an instant response to a query, the more efficient route is to pick up the phone. Following up shortly after sending an email makes you seem impatient and self-righteous.

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