HomeHome : Monthly Tips : May 2011

Forward Email Properly

May 2011 — Tip of the Month

We've all received those emails before – the ones that have been forwarded and forwarded, then forwarded again, until someone finally decides to forward it to you. Often, you have to scroll through pages of email addresses until you finally reach the original content of the email. It leaves you feeling more annoyed than grateful to receive the email.

Forwarding email is not always a bad thing to do, but it is often done improperly. Following these three steps will improve your netiquette and help you avoid forwarding faux pas.

  1. Determine if the email is necessary to forward.
    Is the message really worth sending? Will the recipient truly enjoy it as much as you did? If not, it may be best to refrain from forwarding the email.
  2. If you are forwarding a previously forwarded email, make sure to delete the other email addresses included the message.
    Believe it or not, this is one of the most common ways that email addresses are collected for mailing lists. After a message gets forwarded several times without anyone deleting the email addresses in the To: or Cc: fields, there may be dozens or even hundreds of personal email addresses within the body of the email. All it takes is one person to record all the email addresses and add them to a mailing list. By forwarding messages without removing the other email addresses, you are potentially exposing all the previous recipients to unwanted spam. Deleting the email addresses will also make the main content of the message easier to find.
  3. Add your own comments at the beginning of the email.
    Forwarded emails are much more welcome when they begin with a personalized comment. Therefore, before forwarding an email to a friend or family member, add a sentence or two explaining why they might like to read it. If you can't take the time to type a few words before hitting Send, you shouldn't be forwarding the message.

Many of us get already get more email than would like each day. Therefore, receiving random forwards is often seen as a nuisance. While it's not wrong to forward emails, it's important to be discerning when you do. If you follow the steps above, your messages will be more welcome and you won't be accused of bad netiquette.

- Per Christensson