Pet Peeves Around the Barn & Solutions to Fix Them
A Tangled Web We Weave
These days, business correspondence is almost entirely dependent on email and internet. If you don’t have an email address, you are way behind the times and are making it difficult for your clients and the rest of the business world to reach you. In this article I have listed a few Pet Peeves of mine in regards to corresponding by email.
If you have a horse business you wish to be taken seriously, you should have a website and your email address should be through your website (jgoodnight@CHA-ahse.org) and not a free email service (email@example.com). Also, if you do not practice good email etiquette, your business image may be tarnished. I spend too much time emailing every day and I need that time to be spent efficiently--poorly sent emails aggravate me. With some of my colleagues, located in entirely different time zones, I email numerous times each day on a variety of subjects and we all understand the importance of email etiquette and appreciate the efficiency it brings.
Basic email etiquette dictates that there should ALWAYS be a subject to your email; it is nice to know what the email is about before I open it so that I can prioritize my inbox. In some cases, the subject line may be the entire message, but never send an email without a subject. If you send a message to me without a subject, I am very likely to delete it with the spam, never even opening it. If you start emailing on a new subject, start a new email (rather than just hitting reply) so that you are not sending an email that’s needlessly long, clogging up space; it’s frustrating to print an email for one paragraph and then discover the email was actually 27 pages long, beginning with a message written two years ago.
And please, make sure your settings allow the body of the email to stay in the message when you send me a reply. It is really frustrating to get a one-line answer from someone, with no text to reference below it, and I cannot remember what the question was. This is especially a problem with people using AOL as their email program (most of the business world uses Microsoft Outlook as an email/calendar/contacts program--you wouldn’t believe the organization possible through this program).
When you forward something to me to read, don’t make me open 16 forwarded emails to find it or scroll down through pages of forwarded messages. Cut and paste or delete all the extraneous information so I can get right to the point as soon as I open your email. If you have to forward it as an attachment, go back to the original message and forward from there so I don’t have to open a half dozen attachments to get to the point. Use discretion in forwarding and don’t fall victim to dramatic shock stories--they are almost always hoaxes; validate facts before you forward.
Please make sure your reply-to settings are correct! You cannot imagine how often I get emails from people and I try to reply but get it bounced back to me saying “bad destination address.” This would be an embarrassing first impression to leave on one of your potential clients. If you wonder why no one ever replies to your emails, you might want to check your reply-to settings.
Make sure you represent yourself professionally at all times in an email. Remember that anything written in an email can be forwarded to the whole wide web with a click of the mouse; don’t make statements you wouldn’t want just anyone to read and remember that emails can be used as evidence, so use discretion!