The eight email mistakes that people hate the most

A new poll conducted by Staples UK has revealed the email behaviours that are the most likely to bother people. It turns out that too much affection tops the list of offenses. 66% of people surveyed found kisses (xx) in work emails to be inappropriate, and 54% gave the thumbs down to terms of endearment such as ‘honey’ or ‘dear’ when writing to clients.

(It has never actually occurred to me to write an email to a client beginning with ‘Hi Honey’ and closing with a kiss, but that’s just me.)

Poor grammar and spelling in work emails also top the list, as shoddy writing in your communications gives the impression that you either don’t know how to write well, or that you just can’t be bothered. (Neither one being a good thing to convey to your coworkers or clients.)

Another big no-no among survey respondents was not setting an out-of-office reply on your email account when you go out of town or on holiday. Not realizing that you’re away and waiting inordinately long for a response to an email leads people to think that you don’t care enough to get back to them.

The eight email mistakes that people hate the most?

  1. Sending XX kisses to clients (66%)
  2. Poor grammar or spelling (65%)
  3. Not setting an out-of-office reply (58%)
  4. Using terms of endearment (54%)
  5. Abbreviations like “OMG” (50%)
  6. Smiley faces and emoticons (44%)
  7. Trite clichés such as “Happy Friday!” (28%)
  8. Asking people about their weekend plans in unrelated emails (17%)

1,000 people were polled for this survey in July, 2012. Personally, I would add ALL CAPS, odd fonts and unnecessary ‘Reply Alls’ to the list. All Caps and weird font choices just bother me aesthetically. The unnecessary ‘Reply All’ creates vast chains of emails filling people’s inboxes for no reason.

How about you? What are your biggest work communication pet peeves?


Peter Harris

Peter Harris on Twitter


Previous Post 3 things a candidate wants to know (but probably won’t ask)


Next Post What you don’t know about the people who work for you

Scroll back to top