Using e-mail is an important communication tool in software companies, but performing communications mostly with e-mail is dangerous. In this post, this issue will be detailed together with common e-mail mistakes. This information can be generalized for most types of companies.
E-mails may be used for some kind of situations:
- For sending a report, meeting record etc. which is not confidential, to a manager or a group.
- For sending a short message which is not urgent, to a person who can’t be accessed via telephone and face-to-face.
E-mails should NOT be used for these situations:
- For confidential messages and criticisms: E-mails can be distributed to other people or large groups easily, so this is not a good idea.
- For situations which could be used as evidence in a court of law : For example, if you say “We will do X item in a month” to the customer with e-mail, it can be a mandatory item for you in the next days.
- For explaining a complex topic: It will be time consuming to write hundreds of words. Speaking will be more effective.
- For explaining an important, sensitive topic: Word emphasis, voice tone, gestures and mimics are very important for conversations. E-mails have none of them and this may cause misunderstandings.
And some e-mail suggestions:
- Don’t use e-mail bodies as title, this is ridiculous:
- Don’t put hundreds of people to your e-mail’s “TO” or “CC” list. Use BCC. Otherwise all people and spam softwares will know all e-mails:
CC:email@example.com, …, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Don’t use infinite forwards for e-mails. These type of mails are not funny for most people.
- Don’t use e-mails as FTP. Use a file transfer protocol for sending messages larger than a few MB. A common wrong usage:
- Don’t use e-mails as a version controlling system. Manage your documents with a real version controlling system:
- Don’t use so many smiley images, big signature images, long signatures, colorful decoration templates in your e-mail. These are generally disgusting and unnecessary. Besides, they will increase network load.