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When NOT to send email


A good friend of mine wrote this article and I had to share it with you.

Abby Marks Beale is founder of The Corporate Educator, a professional speaking and training company specializing in helping busy people work smarter, faster and just plain better.{{more}}

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Have you ever received an email message that you thought could have been communicated in a better way? 400 Radio Shack (a US company) employees were laid off via an email message. Does that seem right?

This situation got me thinking about all the times that sending email is appropriate and more importantly, when it is NOT appropriate. Here are just a few situations at work I thought about:

  •  If your boss has been away and you need to get his or her attention, sending email probably won’t do it. They are sure to have a backlog and yours is just one in the crowd.
  •  If you have a confidential question about your pay cheque, sending it over email may get your question answered but now it is possible for others to see your request if it is sent in error to someone else.
  •  If you are upset about a new co-worker who is not pulling his or her weight, talking about it over email to your other colleagues (also known as gossiping) may come back to haunt you. It is very easy for email forwarding accidents to occur.

I have put together this starter list of times when email is NOT appropriate that I hope you will seriously consider as situations arise in your lives. Remember that email is NOT as private as you think!


  •  If you need to get someone’s attention about an urgent or pressing matter.
  •  When describing a complicated procedure.
  •  When you are angry.
  •  For gossip.
  •  For sending jokes and chain letters.
  •  When you really want to resolve a conflict or misunderstanding.
  •  When delivering bad news.
  •  When you want to make a heartfelt apology.
  • When typing it takes you longer than making a phone call.
  •  For anything you care that others might read.

Using email for most other communications is adequate but there is nothing like a personal phone call or a face-to- face conversation to help secure, solidify and build a working relationship.

Karen Hinds President/CEO –
Workplace Success Group,
Toll Free: 1-877-902-2775;
Tel: 1-203-757-4103
A CT Winner of the Make Mine a Million Dollar Business award!