Emails were meant to be a massive productivity booster: speed of communication to save time, access multiple items with attachments, communicate to multiple people at once, etc. … all hail the mighty email … I rarely hear people say how much they love emails. What I do hear is people defending emails so they have proof of communication yet in the same breath complain about the sheer number of emails and the lack of communication in the organisation!
By 2019 we are going to be receiving at least 260 emails per day with three quarters of those emails requiring some sort of interaction, business activity. [I suspect this number is too conservative.]
To be productive you must take back control of your emails.
My client Kevin is a HR manager and has asked me to mentor and train a manager who needs to improve his people skills and especially his communication. The manager’s emails do not make sense and are considered too direct and aggressive. These emails are going to other staff and to external stakeholders. The business’ reputation is at stake not to mention this manager’s own staff’s morale. The manager needs to, at the very least:
- slow down before typing and especially before hitting the send button.
- keep one key message to each email or seperate topics with clear headings and spacing.
- be reader focused
- think about how the reader might perceive the email.
- avoid ALL CAPS in general text as it looks like yelling.
In the video I also share 3 tips for handling emails: watch or read below:
Don’t be afraid to unsubscribe. If you’ve not read a subscribed email newsletter for more than 3 weeks, 3 months, get rid of it. You’re unlikely to read it ever. Emails just sitting there waiting for you just looks like more work for you and that adds to the overwhelm.
Use rules. Send important emails into different folders so you know where they are and you can get to them later. I have at the moment at least eight rules operating and some of them are into the trash bin (this works well with point one).
This comes out of Dave Allen’s Get Things Done philosophy for productivity. If you can handle that email in two minutes, do it. Get it done. Get it out of your way. If you can read it, action it and deal with it in two minutes, then you don’t have to worry about it after that.
I hope these tips are useful for giving you back control of your email.
I’d love to know your thoughts.