Email Blogger

Email Etiquette: Using High Priority

In Uncategorized on February 22, 2010 at 4:36 pm

We all think that our message is important to the world. That sense of entitlement has fostered in our brains and we can’t seem to let it go. The reality of it is, though, that the message we so desperately want to send and have everyone read is not as important as we think it is. As a matter of fact, to many people, it may not be important at all. Since importance is so very subjective, how do you decide which emails should be sent with that “High Importance” flag?

Here are a few tips to help:

DO send an email high priority when…

  1. The matter is life-threatening.
  2. The matter will cause a company or individual to lose great sums of money.
  3. The matter could turn into some sort of legal dispute (i.e. lawsuit, conviction, etc.).
  4. You have sent SEVERAL (subjective) other emails to no avail on a very important (once again, subjective) issue.

DON’T send an email high priority when…

  1. You just want a quick response on a situation with no detrminental impact.
  2. You’re including many people on the email (this can confuse people and have many people taking the same “important” action).
  3. You’re forwarding a mesage that does not require any action on part of the recipient.
  4. You are sending your first email on a somewhat important (subjective) issue.

Like anything else related to emails or any other forms of communication, there are no hard and fast rules that apply to each and ever situation. It is up to you to use your best judgement. Also, as stated above, there are many situations that are more open to individual interpretation. In these cases, it may be better to overdo it than to underdo (is that a word?) it.

So, the next time you’re sending an email and decide to check that “high priority” button, keep in mind that you may be breaking all the rules of email etiquette if your flag is out of line.

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