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Rita’s rules for email

A blog post over at the Harvard Publishing site led me to put together my own "golden rules for email." As follows: Rita's Golden Rules for email: 1. Meaningful subject lines that tell the reader what to expect. Don't say "Thursday's meeting" as your subject. Say "followup expected by client from Thursday's meeting." 2. No email should ever be longer than one screen of information. If it means scrolling down, you're not being concise. 3. One subject per email. When I've dealt with it, I want to delete it or file it and I can't do that if your email contains 10 action items, one of which is going to hang out there for 6 months. 4. Email is the wrong place for emotional outbursts. 5. Email is the wrong place for communications of a personal nature. 6. Assume everything you put in an email could end up on the front page of the New York Times and be accordingly discreet. 7. Find ways of making sending you email you don't need to see more costly to the sender. One CEO I know fines people $1 for every email he gets that he didn't need to see. 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. 9. Mrs. Johnson in first grade was right – spelling and grammar count. 10. Don't send email when a short phone call would do the job better.

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