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Thoughts on 'Rita’s Golden Rules for E-Mail'

Emaillogo Via a post yesterday on the Texas Lawyer's Work Matters blog I found an interesting list of “Golden Rules for E-Mail." The 10-point list, created by Rita Gunther McGrath, offers several helpful suggestions about e-mail, some of which are highlighted below. My comments are in italics:

2.  No e-mail should ever be longer than one screen of information.  If it means scrolling down, you’re not being concise. [Agree. The size of a "screen" varies these days, of course, since some people use iPhones and BlackBerrys almost exclusively, but if your e-mail is busting out of an entire computer screen then you need to trim it down immediately].

3.  One subject per e-mail.  When I’ve dealt with it, I want to delete it or file it and I can’t do that if your e-mail contains 10 action items, one of which is going to hang out there for six months. [Agree. In general, I find that people will respond and take the action you are seeking if you keep it simple. If it is a multi-part, complicated request, it often gets pushed to the "get around to it when I have more time to deal with this" pile.]

4.  E-mail is the wrong place for emotional outbursts. [For sure, because although you will soon be calm about whatever the subject was, your e-mail outburst will live forever].

8.  Because you sent it doesn’t mean I got it.  Because I got it doesn’t mean I read it.  Because I read it doesn’t mean I understood it.  Because I understood it doesn’t mean that I agree with you.  Check for closure on your communications. [Well said.]

10. Don’t send e-mail when a short phone call would do the job better. [Disagree. Just send me a short e-mail that I can deal with when I'm ready!]

Posted by Bruce Carton on September 16, 2010 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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