Have you ever exchanged business or contact cards with someone, thinking she might be a good person to follow up with at a later date, or that it would be helpful to have his contact information on file? Instead, you find yourself on the receiving end of newsletters, company announcements, industry alerts, invitations to upcoming events that have nothing to do with your line of business, non-stop promotions, and so-forth.
You probably don’t share your contact information with someone because you want to be added to their blanket email list. And just because you have obtained someone’s e-mail address does not mean you also have their permission to include them on your distribution list. To do so, uninvited and without authorization, is not only rude, but may also be illegal. Either way, it speaks poorly of you and your sense of professional courtesy.
So when this happens, what do you do?
Keeping in mind that I am referring to the emails that arrive from people you have actually met at networking or social events, and not the constant stream of spam that fills our in-boxes, it may be as easy as clicking the “Unsubscribe” button typically located at the bottom of the email page, or sending a reply with the words “Please remove me from your email list” in the subject line.
But what happens if the offender is a client or important customer, perhaps a mentor, a former boss, or a valued colleague, and you are concerned about damaging your relationship?
1. Send a personal note: “Thank you for the information — I appreciate you thinking of me. However, I am finding my email inbox overwhelmed with messages and must ask you to remove me from your mailing list.”
2. Adding a final “I appreciate your help with this.” is a nice touch. The point is to let the sender know you want to put a stop to the emails, not the relationship.
3. Do nothing. Grit your teeth and continue to hit Delete. After all, is it really that much of a bother?
Keep in mind that including you on a mailing list is not done out of maliciousness, but because someone thought you would genuinely appreciate the information. The majority of people will remove you promptly upon your request – no one wants to hold you captive.
Bottom line, if the person did not agree to be put on the mailing list, their name should not be included. People should not have to opt out of something they never signed up for (credit card companies, are you listening?)
Professional reputations are at stake.