In my dealings with people in the business world. I have never, not once, heard anybody say, “Oh, I wish I just got more emails” or, “Oh, if that email had been just a little bit longer it would’ve made it so much more effective”.
What I do hear is people who are inundated with too many emails, spending way too much time in their day processing email, rather than doing the work they were hired to do. There’s a huge cost to this. You can get our white paper about the true cost of email on our website, but let’s just agree that that’s not what we love or even what we want to do. Stick with me for just a couple of minutes, I’ll give you a couple of tips that will reduce your email load and make your communications more effective.
I see lots of people talking about zero inbox, scheduling time off from email. Those are all good tips, but the real problem with email is that it typically originates with the sender and no processing on my end can solve a bad email sent from the other end. Let’s clean that up and email will be a much more effective tool. But that gives rise to the real problem of email is that we’re using this wonderful tool. It’s asynchronous, it’s instantaneous delivery, It’s free. We’re trying to use it as a team development tool, documentation tool to keep track of everything that was said. We try to bring other people in. We try to make it a social media platform. It wasn’t designed to do any of that.
Here’s some tips though, that can help you send better emails. I’ve alliterated them to help make them a little more catchy for you.
Use defaults and deadlines. Tell people what’s going to happen if you don’t hear from them.
So often we send emails. We have to send follow up emails that we have to walk to their office. Give them a phone call, text them. That’s a lot of communication for a simple, no, but give them a deadline. Hey, if I don’t hear from you by Friday, here’s what’s going to happen. You got your out, you documented it. They’ve got an out to not respond if one’s not required. I know that in some places like finance or healthcare, that may not be allowable, you’ve got to have a response. But in many cases in the business world, just by putting a default situation in or a default action in it’s going to help solve some of these back and forth.
Second, let me encourage you to exclude the emotion from your email. You drop that little smiley face at the end of that sentence. How am I supposed to interpret that?
If I know you will, maybe I know exactly what you meant. But in the business world, I might think you’re sarcastic or dismissive or even downright mean, Oh, sure. It’s a smiley face, but what does it mean? Text is very difficult to carry those emotions. Especially in a business context, just drop it, get to the facts, get the work done. Go out to dinner with somebody after work iif you want to create a relationship.
Third, put the prime in the preview. So many people are reading email on mobile devices now. Make sure that what you want and what the core message of your email is, is right up front. In journalism they say don’t bury the lead. If you want an answer, say, I need an answer. Put it in the title for that matter. Put the core message upfront. That way you’ll be more likely to get a response. Also give people an option to opt out. Give them a chance to say, Hey, if you don’t are not going to the corporate conference in January… I’m not going, stop reading now. Put that upfront and it gives me a chance to not read an entire email only to discover it wasn’t intended for me.
By using these tips, you can reduce the back and forth that email tends to generate, you get better answers, you get more done. Then you can get back to the work that you were hired to do and that you’re good at doing. Email is work about the work. Let’s use it more effectively.
Watch more SpeakerChat videos:MillsWyck Communications YouTube Channel
As a high-stakes communications expert, Alan motivates individuals and teams to build their confidence and professionalism and trains them to seamlessly handle the unexpected in ANY communications setting.
Alan is an International Keynote Speaker, Coach, Trainer, and Author who has delivered keynotes and training workshops to thousands on the impact of powerful, persuasive communication. Alan is the Executive Director and Principal Trainer of MillsWyck Communications. He is the author of Presentation Sin: The Practical Guide to Stop Offending (and Start Impressing) Your Audience and the co-author of Silver Goldfish: Loud & Clear: The 10 Keys to Delivering Memorable Business Presentations.
Let Alan bring excellence to the communication in your organization!