Saturday, April 07, 2007

Tips for Better E-Mail, Part 1: Don’t Track What You Don’t Have To

I have just completed a draft of my book The Art of Writing E-Mail as a companion piece to The Art of On-the-Job Writing. Since First Books ( will publish it later this spring, I thought I’d mark the occasion by focusing on tips for writing e-mail.

This first suggestion actually comes from Toby M. Sherman, Director of Professional Development at Common Ground Community, a New York-based innovative organization committed to solving homelessness ( Ms. Sherman urges her staff not to use the tracking setting listed on Microsoft Outlook as “request a delivery receipt for this message.” This feature, she insists, achieves the opposite effect of its intention: It can annoy the recipient to the point of making a response a low priority.

I have asked two other human resources professionals from entirely different fields (investment banking and government) if they felt the same way as Ms. Sherman. Their answer was a resounding “yes.” So here’s a tip you can take to the communications bank: Don’t track what you don’t have to!

To purchase your copy of The Art of On-the-Job Writing by Philip Vassallo, click here: