Some Simple Rules on Forwarding Emails

(This entry first appeared in January 2008. I sent it as an email blast for an internal communication project with the title, Writer’s Toolbox: Some Simple Rules on Forwarding Emails.)

I am not fond of receiving forwarded emails, especially those that make me feel that I’ll meet bad luck ten times over if I don’t forward this or that email. I’m aware that forwarded emails are my friends’ and colleagues’ way of saying, “Hey, I remembered you!” But a phone call, an SMS, or even a YM (Yahoo Message) would’ve been more heartfelt.

Having said that, let’s take a look at a few simple rules on how to forward emails properly.
* Before forwarding an email, take the time to remove all those >>>>, other email addresses, headers, and comments from other email senders. Refrain from making your readers go through all those “forward signs” and comments to see what it is you thought was worth forwarding.

* Think carefully if what you are forwarding contains accurate information, will be appreciated, and is humorous to your recipients as it is to you. If you can’t think of a good reason why your friends and colleagues would appreciate your email, don’t forward it. Check for hoaxes at

* If you must forward to more than one person, put your email address in the “To:” field. Place all others you are sending to in the “Bcc:” field to protect their email address and privacy from being published to those they don’t know.

* At the same time, it is never a pleasant experience to scroll all the way down an email where half of the page is just email addresses. Remember, emails are meant to deliver your message right away! Go for the less cluttered look so that your message can be read and responded to immediately.

* Take the time to write a personal message at the top of your forwarded emails before sending them. Say why you think your recipients will like it.

* Be respectful of people’s request to stop sending them forwarded emails.


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