How not to email

How Not To Email

Email has become one of the most common methods of communication in the modern workplace. It’s easy, quick and enables conversations between colleagues without the need to be in the same physical space, as well as allowing for the sharing of documents and images.  As contractors and freelancers are more likely to work remotely than other workers, they rely on email even more than most.

Perhaps, then, contractors and freelancers are strong candidates to be the most annoyed by the nine most irritating work email phrases as uncovered by Adobe last month. Of course, they may be more likely to commit these offences too.

To see which side of the fence you sit on, take a look at the nine phrases below. If you feel yourself bristling as you read them (as we did), you’re probably an innocent victim. However, if you recognise one or more of them from your own emails, it might be time for a little re-evaluation.

Not sure if you saw my last email…

You know we have seen it, we just haven’t replied or we’ve forgotten. Stop playing dumb and just remind us that we need to get back to you.

Per my last email

See above. We know what your last email says. For one thing, it’s included in the chain. Please stop reiterating yourself.

Per our conversation

We just had a great chat about this and you said you’d follow up with the main points in an email. Great. But why have you suddenly gone all formal?

Any updates on this?

No. There are no updates. If there were we’d have emailed you to tell you already. If you want to remind someone to get on with a particular task, this is not the way to go about it.

Sorry for the double email

If you’re double emailing because you forgot something salient in the first place, fair enough. But just apologise for forgetting. If you’re double emailing to ensure your emails get bumped to the top of the inbox, you’re not really sorry so don’t apologise for it – we know exactly what you’re doing.

Please advise 

This is yet another overly formal way of saying something really simple. It’s email, not a legal letter.

As previously stated… 

Yep, we know you previously stated it. We saw your last email in which you said it. We understand that it’s important but you don’t need to repeat yourself ad nauseum.

As discussed…

This is the same as the above. We know you discussed it with us, we were there. We don’t need you to repeat it. Please stop.

Re-attaching for convenience

But it’s not convenient to have your inbox clogged up by repeat attachments, is it? Unless you’ve included someone new in the email chain who won’t have seen the attachment before there is no need whatsoever to re-attach. Thank you.

At Kingsbridge, we can’t insure you against irritating emails, but we can promise not to send you one. You can visit our website to get a quote for contractor insurance.

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  1. as for a foreigner, most of above phrases seem just formalities. and although some of them are annoying, even more annoying things happen. few examples:

    i’m in a rush to get to, say, a meeting and have to stop (and risk being late) only because somebody is calling me to remind me about the meeting. “dude, it’s been in my calendar the minute we agreed that meeting, and e-calendars do buzz with reminders. now, i can either get to the meeting or explain over the phone that i’m on my way, but can’t do both things”.

    long email – unless its packed with key info (but only key, if i need more, i’ll ask for it), it’s a waste of time on both parties. TLDR (Too Long – [I] Didn’t Read [it])

  2. I don’t agree with these comments. The points of view stated are purely subjective. All the “phrases” are polite and if the receiver is annoyed by them then this is usually a reflection of their own failures to respond in a timely manner.

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