I get asked this all the time!
How do I nicely ask someone not to keep forwarding me jokes and non-business related e-mails to my business e-mail address?
I think it is telling that folks ask me how to ask “nicely.” I guess that reflects their frustration with folks who do not understand that sending feel good causes, political or “informational” type e-mails are not those you send to someone’s business address.
We all know how to ask nicely. It is as if they know no matter how nicely they ask, the other side will be upset and there will be hurt feelings — or in the case of business, a client or customer that may take their business elsewhere.
Unfortunately, in my decades of experience I find that to be just the case.
No matter how “nice” you may be, many folks will take your request personally and get upset or have hurt feelings. And if they don’t get mad; many times they will completely disregard your request and keep on forwarding.
When initial requests to cease the sending of these type of emails to their business account is not honored, next comes…
Please guide me so that I don’t say what I really want to say!!
Explain that you would appreciate being removed from their lists of non-business related forwards. Let them know that you have a workload volume of emails that you need to get to and prioritize and really only want to receive emails that are work related to your work address. Offer your personal address as an alternative.
You can also send them to this article: 5 Rules of Forwarding Email. When sending contacts to my article you could state something like “I found this article that taught me a thing or two about what to consider when forwarding e-mails and thought you might find it helpful too!”
When all else fails, I have an article on my general e-mail etiquette site specifically created for folks to send people to: How do I ask someone to stop forwarding me all those silly emails?
Hopefully, they will be courteous enough to honor your request and be more responsible about what and how they forward e-mails.