Overwhelmed by Email?
John Porcaro shares these tips from Marilyn Paul, author of 'It's Hard to Make a Difference When You Can't Find Your Keys.'
- Meet as a team to review e-mail use. Identify what works, what doesn't, and why. Create a trial period for improvement: Meet to discuss after a week.
- Use subject-line protocols to speed communication: a.) No reply needed - NRN; b.) Thank you - TY; c.) Need response by date and time - NRB 10/30 3:00 pm; d.) Use subject line for whole message: Meet 10:00 10/30 Okay?
- Determine who needs to be copied on what, what needs to be read, and what needs to be filed.
- Keep e-mails short. Most should be no more than 1-10 sentences. Communicate your main point in the first sentence or two. Don't make readers work because you don't have time to focus.
- Don't deliver bad news in an e-mail message. If it's urgent, pick up the phone. Use tone of voice to indicate concern, but not anger.
- After two rounds of problem-solving on e-mail, pick up the phone.
- Don't hide behind e-mail. Any sensitive communications should be done in person.
If you can't answer a request immediately, let the other party know when you can respond, or if you can't.
- NO EMOTIONAL E-MAILS: To resolve a conflict, schedule a meeting or use the phone. E-mail arguments tend to be huge time-wasters. Never send a hasty, irritated response to an annoying e-mail -- jobs have been lost that way.
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