Lately I have been trying to limit the e-mails in my in-box to those immediately readable on screen, so I don’t have to scroll down. I have achieved it a few times, but it always seems to start spreading again immediately!
I’m sure I’m not the only one fighting against an ever-rising e-mail tide, so I have asked around for colleagues’ favourite tips and these came out top:
1. Discipline yourself to only download and read your e-mails 2 or 3 times a day – mid-morning and mid-afternoon would be good times.
2. Some can then be deleted straightaway, or at least put into appropriately named folders for later use. Only keep in your in-box e-mails which require action or to remind yourself you are waiting for a reply. Only keep the latest message in an ongoing exchange.
3. Take care with Subject box – be very specific and use dates if necessary, or later you could find yourself trawling through a long list of ‘Meeting’s or ‘Update’s to find the one which contains that vital information you need right now.
4. Draft standard responses if you receive lots of similar enquiries.
5. Sometimes the phone is faster and less confusing, for example if you are trying to change arrangements and need to make sure everyone affected is aware.
6. Don’t be tempted to use e-mail to avoid personal contact, particularly if there is already a difficulty – chances are that someone will misinterpret the written word without the benefit of accompanying verbal tone and body language, and you could end up having a drama to resolve.
7. Always re-read e-mails before sending them, including the Subject box – not only will you pick up spelling mistakes, but you may find the message reads differently to the way you intended.
Andy Britnell specialises in sales and customer service training for both the private and public sectors. Go to http://www.andybritnell.co.uk/ and you can sign up for my FREE short monthly newsletter and FREE e-mail coaching.
I coach corporate and SME clients who wish to achieve better results - see http://www.executive-coaching-for-business-growth.com/