I have trouble with exclamation points in general – they’re very useful, but they lose their effectiveness if you break them out too often. This rule is doubly true for the Microsoft Outlook red exclamation point – the little symbol you can put next to the subject of your email that stands for urgency or high importance. My new boss has trouble with this concept to the point where I am not sure if she knows where the period is located on the keyboard or realizes that not all of her emails are highly important.

If you use the high importance red exclamation mark, say, twice a month, I’m going to understand the special pressing and critical nature of your request and treat the email accordingly. If you use it every single time you send me anything it’s going to start meaning less and less to me. In fact, I just might go to lunch before even opening your email in some sort of attempt to teach you a lesson.

What you’re telling me, with your dozens of red exclamation point emails, is that you think that everything you need is way more important than anything else I need to do for other people. It’s like cutting in line for no reason. I hate it so, so much.

In order to curb red exclamation point use, I have written a short two-example guide to help everyone understand when its usage is appropriate.

Inappropriate Usage

Subject: Book Order (!)

Hi Sarah!!!

Could you order the below books for me?? ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Appropriate Usage

Subject: Book Order (!)

Hi Sarah!!!

Could you order the below books for me??ย ๐Ÿ™‚

Also, I am badly wounded and can’t stop the blood flow!!! ๐Ÿ˜ฅ I am typing this to you with the remainder of my strength. If you could call an ambulance or fashion a makeshift tourniquet for me out of office supplies, that would be great!!! Please hurry!!!

Thanks!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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