Tag Archives: email

Is It Stupid to Ask for a Better Email Address?

He asked me about my business plan review, something I like doing, and that I charge for. I should be happy, right? And forthcoming? 

bigstock paranoia boy in tin hat

But his email address is three letters having nothing to do with his name, plus three numbers, at yahoo.com (like nnn###@yahoo.com). So I asked him, before sending a work sample, to give me a better email address or identify himself better. 

Am I off base? Is that stupid? Like blowing off a potential client? 

On one hand, maybe this person just doesn’t want to use real email because he (or she) doesn’t want me to spam back. I get that. Nobody I know likes to give an email address to the wrong person.

On the other hand, from my side, it feels like I’m corresponding with, even sending information to, somebody who has a generic name and generic email address, a complete throwaway address. There’s no web footprint at all. 

What do you think? 

And too bad, too. Right? That it’s dumb to just trust? And who trusts first: Him (or her) or me? 

Take That, Spammers!

Do you want satisfaction after all the annoyance of spam?

I just finished clicking full pages of spam with one click, and then deleting all of them with a second click. The view below (warning: the subjects include stupid and offensive subjects) shows the page just for that satisfying click that sends them all to oblivion. Boy that’s a good feeling. Take that, spammers!

view of spam

If you don’t have a spam filter, then you need one. My company uses Postini and I also use SpamArrest and MailWasher. I recommend all three of them. Anything to not see the spam.

The Best Business Email Might Be a Phone Call

This morning I picked up Finding the Right Words for Business Emails, a recent post by Bradford Shimp on his Allbusiness Answers blog. Bradford’s a smart person, and he has good advice here. Use language you’d use for a friend. Be careful with the subject line. Avoid phrases that sound like spam. And this, my favorite:

You can’t control how a reader will interpret your email, but you can work hard to find the right words to communicate your message clearly. Avoid murky language. Instead, go for crisp, clear sentences. If you want to make a point, repeat it a couple of times in the email. One thing to avoid in email is sarcasm. It just doesn’t translate. Satire may be pretty hard to pull off as well.

Even so, Brad’s good advice about email notwithstanding, the post reminds me how I’ve come full circle on email in 25 years. I used to love email, but these days I say dial the phone.

In the beginning of email (I was on Applelink, CompuServe and the Source in the middle 1980s) it was a fabulous productivity booster. My favorite business relationships were the people I could reach in email.

Lately, however, every day I see more of the occasions when email is a weak second-best alternative to dialing the damn phone and talking to somebody. Talk, and more important, listen. Have a conversation. You have the benefit of two-way conversation, tones of voice, inflection, and so forth. Email gets lost, quarantined as spam, misunderstood, and misinterpreted. It’s dangerous. Once you send something in email, that person has control of it, forever. It gets forwarded without context to the wrong people.You can’t get it back. And if it’s misunderstood, you might never get to explain it.

I find email seems like an easy way out sometimes, because I’m too lazy to talk to an actual live human being. When it matters at all, use the phone, talk, and listen.

10 Emails That Shouldn’t Have Been Sent

Oh dear. How would you like to be the sender whose name I’ve blocked out here? Charged, apparently, with emailing a press release to bloggers, and struggling with a technical problem, he ends up creating this blight on my inbox (and probably doesn’t even know he’s done it):

I count 11 repetitions, the same message, the same sender, and even the same sending minute (although you can’t see that in this view).

And I wonder … do you think one of the 15 absolutely important things recommended is to test all email list sending utilities before hitting ENTER? Or would that be the 16th?

Watch your Back

I just read The Corporate Survivor’s Guide to Email on the Huffington Post. Thank God, at least this isn’t true in my world. I don’t think. I mean … is it? Is that what you meant? Here’s how this Nicholas Weinstock post starts.

Now More than Ever

Thank you!

Translation:  F**k you.  Generally found at the end of emailed instructions, as in "Please let me know, in the future, anytime you’ll be occupying the conference room during an hour when my team is scheduled to use it.  Thank you!"  An expression of outright hatred.  Probable indicator of an assassination attempt to come.

By the way, just to clarify, the asterisks there are mine. He and Huffington Post are not so squeamish.

So I’m thinking to myself, as I read this post, "nah, not my world, that can’t be … but then, the very next thing:

No Exclamation point. Translation: Thank you.

Now that’s getting more interesting. Does he have a point, maybe?

A short response in all lowercase ("no" or "never "or "no way" or "ok" or "I don’t think so" or "yes", for example) means:

I’m more important than you are.  And busier.  In fact, I’m so important and busy that I don’t have time to write more than a word or two – unlike, say, you, Wordsworth – or even take the care to capitalize the few words that I can manage to eke out as I hustle off to an airport / heliport / underground bunker / secret strategy session you wouldn’t know about / meeting with other more important and busier people than you.  Generally intended as a reminder of your lowly, vulnerable, and tenuous status at the company.  You’re not important or busy enough.  And it just got noticed.  Take steps.

Nicholas offers several other translations: forwarded email with no added message, self-addressed email with you BCC’d, LOL. It’s good stuff. He finishes with the following:

Thank you!

Seriously.  It does:  it means F**k you.  Look back through your emails.  He or she absolutely hates you.  That exclamation point is a f**king dagger.  Watch your ass.

Good post. Is he right? I hope not. But then …

(note: reposted from emailfail.com)