Email 101

by Christopher de Zeeuw on August 18, 2014 No comments

For someone who went through school and varsity without an email address I hope that these basic lessons below have now been added to the curriculum for all students.  It is crazy how exponentially the volume of information and data is growing each day and without some basic guidelines we are quickly pushed into inefficiencies. (I personally think they should remove the Reply All from some peoples machines)

Have a quick read below and before taking a look a hard look yourself and change your actions today for happier email conversations.

Corporate Email: You’re Doing It Wrong.

Author: Mark Luis Foster

If you’re in any kind of corporate environment, email reading is likely consuming you. It’s estimated that 2.8 million emails are sent every second on planet Earth. Every second!

I remember the days before such e-clutter, known posthumously as v-clutter, when an hour-long meeting out of my office meant eight to 10 voicemails were awaiting my urgent reply. Today, an hour away from your smartphone or computer can translate to more than double that volume in company email, resulting in a silo full of bolded messages built up like a Jenga game sitting on top of existing emails you haven’t had time to read either.

Since you’re getting paid to read emails (think about it: you are!), then we should all try to be more efficient about it. And that means significant education for the senders of email, many of whom violate simple e-rules, resulting in more of our time being spent triaging items in a brimming inbox.

Here are a few tips for corporate e-violators who need to get on the e-efficiency bandwagon:

1.            Avoid the naked forward – That’s the long string of emails you forwarded to me in a single message without topping it with the reason why you’re sending it. Yup, that space on top is blank. So now I’m left to wade through the morass of text and disjointed messages in order to understand what you want me to do about it. My simple solution to this? Delete. I’m not getting paid that much.

2.            Make the subject line pithy – If I need to respond to your minor emergency by 3 p.m. or review your news release draft before I’ve had a chance to drink my coffee, then your subject line better reflect it. If you just put “Hey” in the subject line, I’m going to assume you’re flirting with me or otherwise had nothing mission critical to say.

3.            Stop the ‘chain meeting’ – You’ve sent an email to 15 people with the hope that your crisis o’ the day will be solved. However, the email started at 9 a.m. and it’s still dreadfully chugging away with multiple replies at noon. Maybe you should stop the presses (we can still say that, right?) and call a meeting. Your problem might be solved in 10 minutes with the right people in the room through the workings of a good old-fashioned conversation.

4.            ‘Reply All’ rarely – You’ve done it. We’ve all done it. Someone sends a group email and every single person in the string replies with ‘thanks’ or ‘got it.’ Please don’t. If you must send, reply only to the originator to prevent me from deleting 20 ‘great’ replies in machine-gun fashion. No wonder George Jetson complained about having to press buttons all day.

5.            No more e-dissertations – If your message is longer than a Victor Hugo chapter and sports a long scroll bar, I likely won’t read it because I’m busy deleting messages from #4 above. Is your message easier to explain to me face to face? Probably. But if you’ve forgotten where my office is located because you always email, then there’s that phone contraption you can use.

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Christopher de ZeeuwEmail 101

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