Confessions of a Ping-Pong Emailer

It’s confession time.  My name is Susan and I am a ping-pong emailer.  I am compelled to reply quickly to each and every email message – even if it’s just to say thank you or OK.  By my calculations I have doubled the volume of email in my area simply by over-using the reply button.

Partly this is due to the large number of projects I manage.  By batting quick responses back to the email initiator it feels like I am somehow keeping extra balls out of my court.  The other part of this habit stems from my proclivity for communication.  I am a communications junkie.

Habit and predispositions aside, I did what I always do when I recognize a problem.  I throw a book at it.  I chose this one: “Send – Why People Email So Badly and How To Do It Better“.  I learned more than I expected.  I was concerned with volume — this book helped me with that and also alerted me to other watch areas like tone and clarity.

As part of my email therapy I’m sending this post to my colleagues (yes, via email) so you can hold me accountable for my recovery.


6 Replies to “Confessions of a Ping-Pong Emailer”

  1. Guilty as charged but this is the new telephone without the busy signal, listening to the “I am not available” announcement “If you know your parties extension:” etc. Email has removed the time constraint of asking the questions that are really not necessary but required by phone. By the way, more appropriate might be to add your office hours to your stationary. If it weren’t for Email we would all be wearing a watch that was a blackberry.


  2. Thanks for this post Susan. I remember the emergence of email in the workplace and how it was going to make us more efficient, but something happened along the way. Instant access took away a filter…good in some respects, but not all. For me, it created more work through, as you say, the quick responses to the quick responses to the quick responses!! Lucky for me my typing skills are sub-par and I usually pick of the phone before too long. My self-imposed rule is that “If I have to reply to your reply to my reply, I will either call you or talk to you face-to-face.” Thanks for the post and thanks for visiting my blog as well.


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