Eight weeks ago, we polled Sidekick content readers to ask them about their biggest email pet peeves.
Over 4,000 responses later … the tribe has spoken. Here we reveal the data behind it all, including:
the #1 most annoying first email pet peeve (it’s not what I expected)
what 92% of people agree on about late-night emails
the most overused email sign offs, according to 4,012 people
While the specifics of what annoys people about an introductory emails is just one piece of the puzzle, it’s an important piece. Understanding these nitpicks can help us write more effective networking emails or follow-up emails.
We can leverage this knowledge to understand what people don’t like, so we can send the kind of emails that they do like.
Lo-and-behold the biggest pet first email peeves, according to over 4,000 people:
Personally, I don’t care when someone sends an email with bad grammar. Yet I’m definitely the minority here, as you can see with responses to our first question:
As the graph shows, these were the top three pet peeves:
1. 40% of people said bad grammar was their BIGGEST email pet peeve.
2. 39% of respondents said lengthy emails was their biggest pet peeve.
3. 15% of people said it was a lack of a clear question (although this personally annoys me more than anything).
Those three answers alone accounted for 94% of all pet peeves.
The remaining 6% were split between receiving an email with too many acronyms and getting a late-night email. Which brings me to the next point …
When asked about receiving emails after business hours, respondents had the following answers:
The responses were clear:
- 53% of people said it doesn’t bother them at all.
- 38% think it’s weird, but not a big deal.
- 9% consider it unprofessional and rude.
That means 91% of people don't mind receiving a late-night email.
This further validates the reasoning behind why we should stop obsessing over sending late-night emails or not.
Okay ... so people don’t care when they receive emails, but do they care about how people sign off those emails?
Finally, we asked two questions about email sign-offs (i.e. how we end our emails before mentioning our name):
1. How do you sign off from that first email?
2. What email sign offs do you feel are the most overused?
The top three results for how people sign off an email accounted for nearly two-thirds of all the votes:
- "regards" (32%)
- "thanks" (22%)
- "best" (14%)
Here was the full spectrum of results:
Here’s what I found even more interesting …
I originally ran this survey because I was confused with email sign-offs like “best.” Best what? What does that even mean??
But clearly my feelings didn't resonate with the majority - in fact, 54% of respondents said they weren’t even annoyed by email sign offs.
However, that also means 46% of people do believe certain email sign-offs are overused. When asked which ones, we heard the following:
Note: respondents could select multiple answers, thus the total respondents is greater than 100%.
For the smaller cohort of people who found specific email signs off irking, the most overused were:
- "sincerely" (14%)
- "regards" (14%)
- "best" (12%)
- "cheers" (10%)
Perhaps this means a few of us may need to rethink how we sign off our emails?
In summary, here’s a checklist of email pet peeves to avoid.
Follow this checklist and you’ll be sidestepping these email pet peeves like a boss.