People Suck At Email

People Suck At Email #8, Order Lists

After a 9 month hiatus I’ve been inspired to write another installment of “people suck at email.” In preparation for this post I read over the previous entries in the series, I realized that the previous post have been written from my perspective. I didn’t want this to turn into “people suck at emailing me” or “ohryan sucks at email.” My intention was to provide some useful tips for email and netiquette, not just annoying whinging.

This installment of PS@E concerns the use of ordered list. When I write an email containing multiple questions or comments on a general topic, I find that it can be useful to track each separate point with an order list. By doing this the recipient has an easy way to refer back to specific points in the body of my email, it beats inline replies and awkward sentences that start with “Re: XYZ” or “When you said Acme…” I also find that writing in point form has the side effect of helping me keep my emails short and sweet.

Of course, this system is completely useless if the recipient doesn’t honour the list items.

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