Nina Spencer

On the subject line of SPAM

One of my biggest email pet peeves is receiving important business emails all folded-in with my daily SPAM...and I don't mean luncheon meat! Like you, I receive a fair amount of SPAM and, therefore, several times a day (when I feel the need to shift gears and do a bit of mindless work), my finger gets a-twitchin on the Delete, Delete, Delete button.

Sometimes I get into such a Delete rhythm that I get a bit sloppy and press Delete a little too hastily, only to then switch from twichin' to fishin'--through my electronic trash bin, that is--to retrieve that all-important, nearly discarded email.

Tell me I'm not the only one who has almost accidentally thrown away an important message! Most of the time it's my own silly fault; some of the time it's my clients' or enquirers'. Why? Sloppy or thoughtless use of the incoming subject line. Unless I already clearly know my enquirer's name, putting "Hi!" as the only wording in the subject line is not going to inspire me to open it...especially if it comes along with an attachment!

I'm often left wondering how many people I may have accidentally snubbed because of my trigger finger, leaving them wondering why I haven't taken the time to respond to their enquiry--only a small few I sincerely hope! At least I've learned, now--and the hard way, I confess--to carefully review my email trash before I delete the whole works at the end of each day. Now I look carefully at both the subject line and the sender's name...and use my intuition as to whether to take a chance opening the mysterious ones. Every now and then my intuition serves me well and I discover that that odd-looking email is, in fact, a legit request for book my services for a conference keynote! Every other now and then it's a request for unmentionable things--brother!

Help myself, and others, effectively and efficiently receive and respond to your emails. Put glaringly conspicuous and specific (non-cute) words, reference points and/or questions in your Subject Line...not just, "The Dude's turning 50!" Yup! That subject line really came my way once. I received this email from a name I didn't recognize, with a subject line which, to me, seemed suspiciously like baited SPAM, and so what did I do? Deleted it! But it was for a birthday party celebration of a dear friend and I only ended up finding out about this party when I'd committed elsewhere for that date. And that, dear readers, brings me to yet another pet peeve...those hosts that don't send at least one follow up on RSVP emailed invitations. Email is great, for sure--whatever did we do without it???-- but we can't always expect that it reaches the intended parties 100% of the time unless you ask for a confirmation. Sometimes you never get the bounce back, but they never get the email? Where does it go--who knows??? Into the ether, or email purgatory, or slide into a 4th dimension or something. Something to think about, eh?