Make Your Emails Work For You

Email is one of those technologies that should make our lives easier. But many times we don’t make the best use of it. Use these suggestions to make your email correspondence more efficient and effective.

Use the Subject Line Constructively

The subject line of the email should alert the receiver to the contents of the message. Use the word URGENT in the subject line only if the matter really is urgent. Don’t overuse this word because then others you correspond with regularly will learn to ignore that word!

Write Short Messages If Possible

Limit your text messages to 3 sentences or approximately 125 characters. Any information longer than that limit might be better handled in a phone conversation. However, there are times you may need a longer message. For example, you might outline the goals and responsibilities of a committee meeting in written format.

Set Priorities and Process Emails Once or Twice Daily

Many people feel that emails demand an immediate response. But the most effective managers and the most productive leaders know better. They set aside time once or twice daily to handle emails. They alert their teams and colleagues of this habit so any information that is pressing or crucial is conveyed either in person or by phone. Most emails do not require an immediate response and for many emails, you need to allow yourself time to process the information or request in order to provide the best answer.

Who Really Needs this Information?

Sometimes it is necessary to copy several people on an email – all committee members or the entire problem resolution team – may all need the information at the same time. But many times, we overload our colleagues with information that is not pertinent to their goals or necessary for them to do their jobs. When this happens, we are actually training our colleagues to ignore our email correspondence because it often has no relevance to them.

Instead, ask yourself who really needs to know the information you are conveying and send only to that person. Then when your colleagues see emails from you, they know the information is relevant.

Following these four simple tips can help you make the most of the emails you send to others. Organizing and identifying the most relevant correspondence in your inbox will free you to work on projects that will promote your career goals.

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