Here’s a summary from a brainstorming session we did in a time-management class on the top ten best tips and tricks for replying to email. Keep these ideas in mind whenever you’re writing and sending e-mail.
1. If it’s appropriate, insert “No Reply Needed” in the “Subject” line or the opening of your e-mail. This can reduce the number of return e-mails that you receive. Add “No Reply Needed”
2. Use pre-written responses to frequently asked questions or requests for information, such as directions, fee schedules, or “how-to” guidelines. Then cut-and-paste your replies. Save time by using pre-written responses
3. If you’re sending an attached file, attach it when you first start writing the email so you don’t forget to do it. Attach first, write next
4. Put enough details in the subject line so that recipients know right away what your e-mail is about, such as “Remember the team project meeting tomorrow, 9/25.” Use a clear subject line
5. Have one e-mail per subject. People often respond to your first and last questions, but overlook or forget the others, so keep things simple. Use one e-mail to address the meeting reminder, for example, another the department social event, and another for the status of a particular report. Recipients can respond accordingly as they have the time and the necessary information. Keep email focused on one topic
6. A phone call is sometimes faster and easier than sending lots of back and forth emails. Use the phone when appropriate
7. If a person asks a series of questions in an original, reply by quoting each question (or enough of the question to make the context clear) and then put your answer after it. Do this by cutting out parts of the original message and inserting answers or other remarks at appropriate places. Insert answer after the question.
8. If you don’t want everyone in a group to see each other’s e-mail addresses, send the e-mail as a blind copy (BCC). Keep emails private with a BCC
9. Know the difference between “reply all” and “reply to sender.” Don’t ” Reply all” to an entire group if your message is not relevant to everyone. When replying to sender, don’t “reply all”
10. If you forward a message, put your comments at the top rather than at the end. Put your comments at the top