Monday, October 20, 2008

Email Horror Stories (CNN)

CNN today ran the story Experts reveal e-mail nightmares, safety tips. They have some funny (because they happened to someone else) horror stories of how emails sent to the wrong person have caused embarrassment and even big financial loss.

In a recent online survey conducted by AOL, 32 percent of the 4,000 respondents have at one time or another mistakenly forwarded an e-mail to an unintended recipient. And often, it's something NOT so nice.

In the CNN article, Roger Matus, keeper of the blog Death By Email, has some good MANUAL TIPS to avoid this mistake including:

  1. Forget that the Reply-to-All button exists (or see our automated solution later)
  2. Type out the person's full name when addressing your e-mail. If you type just the first few letters and let your e-mail program fill out the rest based on your address book, it could easily misroute your message without you realizing it.
The reality unfortunately is that we often need to use the Reply-to-All button and it is so much easier to pick a name from the list that Outlook drops down (than to type the whole thing in).

The manual methods will not work for most of us.

We have created an AUTOMATED SOLUTION that provides protection from this mistake and more. SendGuard for Outlook will:

1. Warn you whenever you click Reply-to-All (to avoid those accidental clicks)
2. Allow you to delay emails or emails to selected addresses by a preset time (so that you have some time to change your mind)
3. Get confirmation before Outlook sends out emails to all or selected email addresses.
4. Protect you from numerous other mistakes such as missing attachments, blank subject lines, incorrect subject lines, incorrect sending accounts and more.

Click here to get more information on SendGuard

We also have a $10 discount on SendGuard until the end of Wednesday 22nd October as part of another update promotion.

Click here to purchase SendGuard at the discounted price before 22nd October. The page is for an UPGRADE OFFER we made to our customers so the text is not directly related to this post... simply scroll down to the ORDER link which has the $10 discount applied to it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Better Email Subject Lines in Outlook

A few days ago I asked for comments on Misleading Email Subject Lines. Firstly let me say I am truly grateful for the large number of responses I received both on the blog and via email.

I have collated your questions, answers and suggestions below in Question and Answer format.

Q: How can you change the subject line of emails that you have received?

The answer to this took me by surprise as well. Simply open any email that you have sent or received, go to the subject line and type in whatever you want. I know that the Subject is read-only but it’s not. Close the email to save the changes.

You can use this technique to change the Subjects of emails that you have received so that the Subject line makes sense when you refer to it in the future.

Q:How can you change the subject line of emails that have already been sent?

Same as you do for emails you have received. Just open the email, go to the Subject Line (which looks read-only but really isn’t), type in your changes and close the email. Easy!

Q: How about email messages that are entirely in the Subject line – what does mean?

You can write short emails that are entirely in the Subject line. The accepted practice if you do is to end the Subject with which stands for End of Message e.g.

Subject: Please call and confirm attendance to Q4 meeting

The reader than (maybe) knows that he doesn’t need to open the email.

Q: What do things such as RR:, AR, FYI, NH … in the Subject Line mean?

You may sometimes find that people add a few letters to the front of their Subject lines that don’t seem to make sense. For example:
Subject: RR: Can you confirm attendance to Q4 meeting.

The more common ones and what they mean...

RR: Response Requested
AR: Action Required
FYI: For Your Information
NH: Need Help

It helps the recipient know why they are receiving the email. Technically speaking you should get rid of the RR, FYI etc when you reply to the email

ANNOUNCEMENT (regarding an upcoming announcement)
Within the next two days I am hoping to announce a simple solution to stop you from making mistakes such as ones discussed here (e.g. Misleading Subjects). I’ll let you know when I am ready.

Till then, please leave a comment on the blog.

Monday, October 13, 2008

More Outlook Keyboard Shortcuts

Last week I wrote about 5 keyboard shortcuts that I use often in Outlook. Many readers came back with several others that I found useful. Here is my updated list of Essential Keyboard Shortcuts for Outlook.

CTRL-SHIFT-I: Go to Inbox
CTRL-SHIFT-O: Go to Outbox
CTRL-SHIFT-M: Create a new email
CTRL-SHIFT-K: Create a new Task
CTRL-SHIFT-A: Create a new Appointment
CTRL-SHIFT-C: Create a new Contact (Doesn't work in my Outlook 2007)
CTRL-ENTER: Send an email
CTRL-F: Forward message
CTRL-R: Reply to message
CTRL-SHIFT-R: Reply to all
CTRL-P: Print
CTRL-G: Go to a date on the calendar (need to be looking at your calendar first)

Hope you find these useful. If you haven't done so already, don't forget to read our article on

Misleading & Inaccurate Subjects on Emails

Most of us have the SAME PROBLEMS when it comes to email.

In August this year I asked for comments from you all before releasing a report on Email Overload. I was overwhelmed by your response and was not able to deal with all the issues covered. Over the next few months I hope to cover some of the problems you identified.

Today I want to look at the topic of MISLEADING or INACCURATE SUBJECTS. Does this sound familiar…

  1. You send a message to someone with the subject "Updating your PC this Friday".
  2. They reply to that and all is well and good.
  3. Two weeks later you get an email with the subject "RE: Updating your PC this Friday".
When you open the email, you find out that the email has nothing to do with the subject. The sender had simply picked an email from you and typed in a new message… without bothering to change the subject.

Have you been guilty of the above? I know I have.

We are doing some research on this and I will write more about this later. In the meantime…

I'd love to hear your thoughts… leave a comment on the blog.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Resending an email

I wrote about this earlier but I recently saw a friend doing this the hard way so… if you need to resend an email. There are two ways of doing this:

Method 1: Reply-to-All
Find the email in your Sent Items folder and then do a Reply-To-All on it.
Delete yourself from the Recipients.
Click Send.

The disadvantage of this is that you will probably forget to get rid of yourself from the recipients list. The advantage is that the real recipient will see the date and time that you had originally sent the email... proof that you had sent it in the first place.

Method 2: Use Outlook's built-in Resend Command.

If you are using Outlook 2007 …
Open the email from the Sent Items folder.
Click Other Actions on the Ribbon.
Click Resend this Message.

A new email will be opened up with all the details copied over from the old message. Make any changes that you want and click Send.

If you are using Outlook 2003...
Open the email from the Sent Items folder.
Click Actions on the menu.
Click Resend this Message.

What method do you use?

Essential(?) Keyboard Shortcuts for Outlook

Many experts say that we can be more productive if we leave our hands on the keyboard... instead of moving between the mouse and the keyboard. Personally I don't think it matters much.

You'll gain a few seconds each time you need to move your hands but lets be realistic… we're not so productive that the few seconds will make any difference… even if we add up all the times we move our hands during the day.

That being said… here is a list of keyboard shortcuts that I actually use REGULARLY.

CTRL-SHIFT-I: Go to Inbox
CTRL-SHIFT-O: Go to Outbox
CTRL-SHIFT-M: Create a new email
CTRL-SHIFT-K: Create a new Task
CTRL-SHIFT-A: Create a new Appointment (I don't use this much as I like to see my Calendar before scheduling an appointment)

Do you have you own favorite keyboard shortcuts in Outlook? Share it with other readers by leaving a comment on the blog.