URGENT e-mails – Please stop abusing the ! notification

sign post with exclamation markI have one MAJOR pet peeve.

Who am I kidding? I have a lot of pet peeves.

Ok, well one of the things that I’d like to vent about today is the High Importance E-mail Indicator ! ! !

One day last week, POP goes an e-mail right into my inbox. This e-mail was from a lovely young lady I had spoken to about internship opportunities with my firm. A routine e-mail at best. But definitely NOT of high importance. Lucky girl . . . she marked that e-mail with that little red exclamation point.

Now, I do not respect or like this young woman any less because she marked this e-mail ‘high importance’ when it most definitely was not. She is most likely an unaware offender. However, I have to ask myself: “How would I be perceived by journalists (heck my colleagues too) if every e-mail of a routine nature I sent was plagued with a red exclamation point?”

Thinking about sending an e-mail of ‘high importance?’ Think again unless your e-mail falls into one of these categories:

1 ) The editor you are in contact with is on deadline and you need to get something your client has in their possession to that editor.

2 ) You’re passing on a message to your boss or co-worker relaying the cops just called and her kid has been arrested…or is really ill at the nurse’s office at school and needs to be brought home ASAP.

3 ) A reporter accidentally included incorrect/erroneous information in an article about your client that may harm the client’s company or the reporter’s credibility. Timeliness is serious in these matters especially if it’s an online article.

4 ) A fast-approaching meeting has been cancelled or postponed.

5 ) Your client has gone M.I.A. and the WSJ would like to do a front page article on them.

6 ) Your colleague is on a conference call with you from a different office and starts sharing privy and/or dangerous/incorrect information and you want to stop her.

7 ) You’re watching your colleague’s car being towed away.

8 ) You’ve sent your boss to a meeting with Mrs. Turner who recently had a nasty divorce and is now Ms. Smith. He needs to know about her name change!

9 ) Your client calls while you’ve stepped away from your desk asking if the address he has for the “Capitaltown Daily” is correct since he’s on his way to an interview for his big story . . . you then realize he’s got the number of the street address wrong and is actually headed for the town landfill making him not only late for his interview, but also smelly.

10 ) The sky is falling.

Got any good ones?? Please share!

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