Ask yourself these questions before you hit send on that next email…

  1. Is it in black type in a normal size on a white background?
  2. Is there punctuation in this email?
  3. Is your contact information at the bottom?
  4. Who am I sending this to? Do they want it?
  5. Am I angry? (if so, save as a draft and come back in an hour)
  6. Would this work better as a phone call? *
  7. Is there anything in this email I don’t want to see on the news or on social media?
  8. Could this email be more concise?
  9. Are there any attached files that could be sent as PDF? *
  10. Is this email only going to people who need to read it?
  11. Am I forwarding someone else’s message without their knowledge?
  12. Am I forwarding something that I read in its entirety and is relevant to the recipients?
  13. Is this work-related?
  14. Did I hit ‘reply all’ on purpose?
  15. Is anyone blind-copied? Why? How would they feel if they found out?
  16. Do I know the difference between there, their, and they’re?
  17. Is the subject line a good indication of what is contained in the email?
  18. Did I include a read-receipt or label it as ‘high importance’? If so, why?
  19. Am I taking advantage of the asymmetrical nature of email–free to send, expensive investment of time to read or delete? *
  20. Am I proud of this email as a representation of my professional self?
  21. If this email wasn’t free to send, would you send it?

This list is based on a blog post from over 10 years ago by the incomparable Seth Godin on his AMAZING site. I’ve adapted and updated it based on my experiences.

* A few of these were just copied right from Seth’s list. Items with an asterisk are stolen goods. *