At some point in time, we all battle a bulging inbox full of never-ending emails. The key to sending (and receiving) the most productive emails possible, is following a few basic email etiquette rules.
We asked our Productivity Ninja Team for some of their best advice (and a few of their biggest email pet peeves) and complied the 7 top tips to being a superstar email-sender!
1. If your entire message will easily fit in the subject line, use it.
A simple note or request (something like ‘please send that invoice to Judy’ or ‘I won’t be in the office until 10’) doesn’t merit a full-bodied email, so utilize the subject line. We suggest getting your team comfortable with using ‘EOM’ (end of message) at the end of the subject to signal there is no need to open the email – the subject line says it all.
2. Make a phone call when you suspect the replies are going to get out of hand
Email becomes so second nature to us, that often we waste a great deal of time with back and forth when a quick phone call could clear it all up in a fraction of the time. If you see the reply spiral starting to take shape, just pick up the phone.
3. Make BLUF part of your email writing routine
How often do you find yourself weeding through lengthy emails desperately trying to find the actual action item within the rows and rows of text? Always? That’s where BLUF comes in. BLUF stands for bottom line up front- when you have drafted a long message, make the point of the message in the first line or two, so the reader doesn’t have to hunt through text to find your point
4. Don’t mark an email urgent if it’s not
We suggest marking emails as urgent if they are, but don’t become the boy who cried wolf. Marking every email as important will make you look self-important, and all your messages will be immediately disregarded as “non-important”. Use this tactic wisely!
5. Include your contact details, please!
It’s ever so annoying to get an email from someone who says “give me a call”…. and there is no phone number listed! Use your electronic signature to its fullest – include phone, website, email, and social media links where appropriate.
6. Unnecessary CC’ing and BCC’ing
Do you really need to include all those people in your email CC or BCC list? Make it clear why each person is included in the email: what do you need them to do? Are you addressing them directly (use ‘to’) or are you just keeping them in the loop? (cc). Also, avoid devious use of the BCC line. Think of it as an useful tool to protect the privacy of those on your lists when sending group emails.
7. Do you really need to ‘reply all’?
Excessive use of ‘reply all’, particularly when it comes to the ‘good job’ messages can be a nightmare. Sure, we all like an e-pat on the back, but think back to the rule outlined above – Why is everyone included in the message? What do you need from them? Well… nothing. So why not compose a direct message to the recipient only that is heartfelt and thoughtful, and bypass clogging everyone elses inbox? It’s more substantive, and will feel much more genuine then a generic ‘good job’ that 7 other people already sent.
Happy (Polite) Emailing!!