Saturday, August 17, 2013
If you can manage your email 1% better - you’ll create more time to get more work done. With the suggestions to follow, find your 1% edge.
Email can be an effective way of communicating, but I believe and have experienced, that the lack of skill in using it just creates more work. A lot of time is wasted with email.
With that in mind, I recommend you adopt this mindset regarding email:
Email is a tool to manage the virtual experience. It is a tool to work with people through a process to get to a result --(so is text and the phone for that matter).
Key point=>You know there are a lot of expectations when people communicate virtually that are in their head but don’t get put on paper.
Here’s what I mean. How many times have you gotten a request for something from a colleague and there was no indication of when it’s needed - no time and date? How many emails don’t have enough information in them and therefore requires 3 or 4 more email exchanges just to get from point A to point B.
Because most people do not use email effectively, I recommend developing this skill:
Be more specific, informative, & directive when using and writing emails.
So what is specific, informative and directive? Tell people what to think, how to behave, and what to expect as specifically as possible.
For example - have a format or template that you use on a regular basis. If someone sends a request for something and it doesn’t have all the information, send it back with specific instruction on exactly what you need at the exact time and date you need it.
In some cases you already to do this. When I’m conducting a seminar I ask, “How many of you have your out of office reply on?” Many raise their hand. Then I ask then to share what it says. Many will say, “I’ll be out of the office on x day returning on x date. If you need assistance call x at extension 3560.”
That is a great example of instructive, informative, and directive. It clearly illustrates tell them what to think – what to expect – how to behave.”
Here’s the overriding point to remember: e-mail like voicemail is a tool to manage a virtual experience and relationship in the context of trying to execute work. It’s about managing behavior, results, and expectations.
It’s useful to think: “I’m managing my relationship (or experience) with this person and I’m communicating with them through e-mail, and that’s a part of a relationship. This person has a personality. This person has a work style with certain characteristics that are either helping me or hindering me and I need to communicate in a way to coach that person so that I get the results I want in the most efficient and effective way.”
This is an excerpt from the time & organizational management book: Organizational Strategies for the Overwhelmed - available at links provided: