Manage Your Email — Or It Will Manage You!
Ever left the office feeling like the only thing you accomplished all day was answering emails? In today’s business world, it’s essential to manage email communications effectively and efficiently. Why? Mishandling email can result in lost productivity, communication breakdowns, and potential liability issues. So evaluate how you’re dealing regularly with email, then create some solid “email best practices.” Invest in employee training in this area, and reinforce those practices to increase productivity and reduce wasted, costly time.
Here are a few guidelines that you and your staff can use…
Ask: What’s the goal? Determine and define this before clicking “send.”
- Think before you send, verifying whether the email is the right medium for your message.
- Summarize your message in the subject.
- Ask: Is this email appropriate?
- Establish email protocol in your organization.
Remember: Less is more. It’s simple… just send less to receive less. People tend to mimic the style, tone and degree of detail in the email you initiate.
- Respond succinctly and briefly.
- Use the phone to respond or deal with difficult subjects.
- Don’t overuse the “reply to all” button.
- Give time-saving direction, e.g., “no reply needed,” “no thanks needed” or “end of message.”
- Get the bulk of your message across in the subject line.
Prioritize: Sort your emails.
- Treat your email inbox like a to-do list.
- Use your search function to find important emails.
- Organize emails by using flags and filters.
- Put emails into a project/task management system.
- Use the “unsubscribe” option for unwanted advertising emails.
- Use email filters.
- Don’t click the “email and offer” box.
- Separate email boxes/folders, having one for personal messages and another for work-related emails only.
Set Time Limits: Manage email minutes better.
- Determine how much time you want to spend every day, week, etc., and schedule in that time on your calendar.
- Handle an email once — file it, take action or delete it.
- Turn off the email “ping” notification sound.
Be Respectful: Polish your email etiquette and quality.
- Don’t waste others’ time; keep emails concise and to the point.
- Define the action required if one is required at all.
- Never send emails when angry.
- Set and clearly indicate expectations for response to your sent messages
- Use the three-email rule — after three have been sent without a satisfactory resolution, reply or response, have a face-to-face or phone call instead.
Got other email pointers?