Thursday, September 09, 2004

Power Email Checklist

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1. Do I really want to say this? How will the recipient probably react to this message? Have I written it so clearly, it will be easy for them to reply? If this email is a reply, am I responding quickly to the other person's email to me?

2. Have I explained upfront who I am, what organization I'm with, my title, exactly what I want, why I need it, and why I'm contacting them? Have I included upfront any “please respond by (date)” request?

3. Is my commercial email spam? Or does it comply with the UCE (spam) laws?

4. Have I written an attention-getting subject line, with the most important words upfront? (Example: “Sunflowers: grow in partial shade?”)

5. Did I keep spam-like gimmicks out of the subject line? (ALL CAPS, mis-spelled words, !!!!!!!!, ***URGENT***, od'd use of %sym+bols, FREE, etc.)

6. Have I re-read my message, revised it, spell-checked it, shortened it?

7. Am I being polite, logical, clear, humble, calm, friendly, single-focused?

8. Do I sound intelligent? Or am I bothering someone with questions I'm too lazy to research on my own? Am I using street slang, or sloppy terminology?

9. Am I being too critical? too vague? too provocative? too wordy?

10. Is this a silly, frivolous email frowned upon or banned by my company?

11. Will I mind if this is just read, then deleted? Might it be better to make a phone call? Mail a postal letter? Fax it? Discuss this issue in a meeting?

12. Is email in plain text, and not HTML? Word wrap at 60-70 characters? No sensitive, financial information: no credit card, social security numbers in email!

13. Did I get direct permission to send an attachment? Is attachment in their preferred format? Is my email ending with an appropriate signature file?

14. Have I thanked the person in advance for any assistance they may provide?


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