1. They’re not a conflict resolver
People need to feel respected and trusted before they will make peace.
2. Sometimes you still need the phone
Always pick up the phone after two email exchanges if you haven’t really agreed on the misunderstanding.
3. Don’t make it a to-do list
Emails are effective if they contain one point per message, few readers want another “to-do” list they have to add to their own.
4. Must be personally spellchecked
Typos can cause nightmares.
5. There’s no way to connect with many different individuals
We all read into what we are sent in our own ways. Wording is so important with different audiences.
6. Emails are not seen the same on smartphones, tablets, Macs and PCs
Each of these screens will format and present information differently. Long messages run the risk of being missed on a device.
7. Every ounce of emotion sent will be received as a pound of trouble or love
The reader does not get to look you in the eyes to validate, understand or respond to what you are really feeling in a couple of sentences. And the longer the email gets, the more complicated or contradictory your feelings may seem.
8. Everything you receive or send may have been bcc’d or forwarded to someone who shouldn’t read it
Don’t assume everyone sees confidentiality as you do.
9. Forwarded emails can have threads of information that never should be seen by the next recipient
Adding new information to an old message is lazy and can have really bad repercussions.
10. Anything you write can surface on the Internet be retrieved by forensic technologists or subpoenaed by a court of law
Just ask the Sony Corporation.
The best rule is to draft an email, put it in your “draft” file and reread it several times before pressing send. Just imagine how many conflicts throughout the world would be solved if everyone did this.