How to deal with email


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Respect Recipients’ Time

As the message sender, the onus is on YOU to formulate your emails as concisely as possible. So please limit your emails to 5 sentences even if it means taking more time at your end before sending.

Short and To The Point is not Rude!

Let’s mutually agree on the rules of communication, and minimize email content by dispensing with unnecessary politeness or standard sentences 

Clarity is Worth Gold!

Start with a subject line that clearly labels the topic, and maybe includes a status category [Info], [Action], [Time-critical], [Low Priority]. Keep the content clear and unmistakable. Avoid strange fonts and colours.

No Open-Ended Questions!

It is asking a lot to send someone an email with long paragraphs followed by “Thoughts?” or an open question. So be precise, and suggest possible answers like a), b) or c) to save the recipient’s time. 

Slash Surplus cc’s!

cc’s are like mating bunnies. For every recipient you add, you are dramatically multiplying total response time. When there are multiple recipients, please don’t default to ‘Reply All’. Maybe you only need to cc a couple of people on the original thread. Or none.

Phoning Can Be Better!

Some emails depend for their meaning on context. But it’s rare that a thread should extend to more than 3 emails. Before sending, cut what’s not relevant. Or consider making a phone call instead.

Minimize Attachments!

Don’t use graphics files as logos or signatures that appear as attachments. The recipient’s time is wasted trying to see if there’s something to open. And copy texts straight into the mail instead of attaching them. If they are not suitable for this, email might be the wrong medium.

Give these Gifts: EOM and NNTR!

If your email message can be expressed in half a dozen words, just put it in the subject line, followed by EOM (= End of Message). This saves the recipient having to actually open the message. Ending a note with “No need to respond” or NNTR is a wonderful act of generosity.

Cut Contentless Responses!

You don’t need to reply to every email, especially not those that are themselves clear responses. An email saying “Thanks for the information, I’ll follow it up.” does not need you to reply “Great.” That just costs 30 seconds at both ends.

 

Adapted from emailcharter.org

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