Four Ways to Cut Back on Repeat Emails
Email. I can’t live with it. Without it, it is impossible to do your job. I’m right? We sent over 2.5 billion emails last year. Here comes the bad news. Despite the large amount of hatred, this number is expected to only grow. Volume is an issue, as is the time you spend on it. In fact, the reports say you check this approximately 36 times per hour . 36 times. In one hour.
Once you start sorting out what’s in your inbox, it will take you about 16 minutes to refocus your attention on other work. Yes, and if you want a document hidden somewhere in your email, it will take you about two minutes to find it. Do the math: it quickly degrades your productivity.
You need it for work. You can’t just give it up as a bad habit. In fact, it is undoubtedly something you rely heavily on to get information, approval, or responses from peers so you can get your job done.
But if you don’t quite understand what you want from others when you send an email , or if you don’t ask good questions, remember that 36 times an hour? Yeah, watch how that score goes up dramatically. I doubt it sounds appealing. Here are four tips you can use to minimize and speed up exchanges and communicate better than ever.
1. Clarify your question
Have you ever thrown an idea to a colleague and ended up saying, “Thoughts?” If your goal is to get someone’s opinion on deadlines, project direction, or recommendations for options, you should give them something more specific to work with. After all, he doesn’t want to spend more time decrypting your message than you want to spend reading his response.
For example, if you just submitted a plan that requires action instead of ending it with a vague and vague phrase, “Thoughts?” ask a specific question such as “What needs to be done to actually implement this plan by next week?” Let me know if there is anything I can do to get it up and running as soon as possible. ” Your colleague will be able to respond quickly and directly, and you will receive a much better response.
2. Getting down to business
Sarah, a Type A project member you often work with, wants to get things a few weeks in advance. She is for it again. You receive an email asking for delivery on a ridiculously short time frame. Are you upset and want to reply, “Could you please give me more time on this project?” with the hope of revising the deadline. If you do, it will take half a dozen more answers to solve only the timeline.
Instead, tell your coworker what you are capable of and leave it as it is. “Hi Sarah, I have three more priority projects in the queue right now. I’ll do it by the end of next Thursday afternoon. If I do this sooner, I will let you know. Thanks for your patience. “Boom. Done.
3. Stop asking questions
Some messages generate junk mail because you are involuntarily asking for responses . To avoid this, stop asking yourself, “Does this make sense to you?” Better to say, “Let me know if you have any questions.” If the recipient has a request, he will inform you; otherwise, he will know that no response is required.
You can also end with something like “Let me know if we disagree with this” or “Let me know if you want to talk about this further.” This concise language makes it clear that the conversation is closed if there is no problem on the recipient’s side.
4. Don’t neglect the headline
The subject of your message is efficiency gold. Use this property to alert the reader to how much attention to pay and when. Send unnecessary emails to the pass.
Use your title to indicate urgency, outcome, and timeline. For example, a headline might look something like this: Action Needed Before Friday Noon | The Acme project is due next week. “
Your reader now knows this will require some attention. She knows there is a deadline for a response and a job she needs to focus on to complete next week. This single specific statement prevents a lot of controversy.
Considering how much time and attention email requires for both sender and recipient, you can see how a few simple techniques can help you send messages that generate fewer responses in return and improve the overall communication between you and your colleagues or clients. … Wouldn’t that be cool? When you make your communication super effective , you will not only feel better in managing your inbox, but your colleagues will also appreciate how effective you are at helping them.
But keep in mind that sometimes it’s best to just mute the conversation. As a general rule of thumb, if you are unable to resolve an issue in three email exchanges, or there is a misunderstanding due to an insanely long thread of emails, offer a live conversation so you can quickly resolve the issue.