The finish line to becoming email experts is just within reach. You’ve mastered how to respect recipient’s time, celebrated clarity, quashed open-ended questions, slashed surplus cc’s and tightened your threads. Training’s been vigorous, but you’ve made it through and now’s the time to test out your endurance for the last lap. Let’s check out the final 4 rules to reversing the email spiral as we come to the end of the Email Charter.
Rule 7: Attack Attachments
Sometimes fancy signatures or company logos at the end of your email appear as attachments to your message. Typically, when there is an attachment to an email your recipient will assume that it is something intended for them to download. Their time is wasted trying to see if there’s something to open. You can solve this problem by using a standard signature including your name, title and appropriate contact information. Or, if you still desire a distinguished signature there are sites like WiseStamp that will create unique signatures without any attachments. You can even go so far as to add a headshot.
Another attachment faux pas is attaching documents with text that could have simply been included in the body of your email. Take a few extra seconds to copy and paste the information to the message. This way you save time for your recipient and keep everything in one place.
Rule 8: Give these Gifts: EOM NNTR
Abbreviated Coded Rendition Of Name Yielding Meaning. ACRONYM. If your email message can be expressed in half a dozen words, give the gift of an acronym to offer a heads up to your recipients. Try putting EOM (End of Message) after your subject line so you save them the 30 seconds it takes to open an email. For example: “Staff Meeting at 9am Tuesday. EOM” You get your message across and shave a few seconds off of someone’s busy work day.
Another worthwhile acronym to test out is NNTR (No Need to Respond). Tag it on to the end of a message that requires no response. You’ve just cut an email out of their to-do list and saved yourself a click or two in your inbox. Many acronyms confuse as much as help, but these two are golden and deserve wide adoption. Hopefully it will catch on around the office and you’ll be the next workplace trendsetter.
Rule 9: Cut Contentless Responses
You’ve just adopted the NNTR method to avoiding unnecessary responses, now’s the time to follow your own system. Before you hit the send button, which can’t be undone, ask yourself “Will this make a difference?” If your response does not define or develop the conversation then take a safe bet and cut it out. You don’t need to reply to every email; especially not those that are themselves clear responses. An email saying, “Thanks for your note. I’m in.” does not need you to reply “Great.” Unless your message engages a new direction or stimulates further response don’t bother hitting that button.
Rule 10: Disconnect!
A GradSource study reminded us that “learning occurs when what you put into short-term-memory connects with what you already know which is stored in long-term-memory.” By giving yourself a 10-minute break every 50 minutes you have a higher rate of retaining information. When you are constantly connected to your inbox, you’re not giving yourself enough time to process all the information that you’re feeding your brain. Give yourself a break to rejuvenate and recharge. If you can’t commit to small increments throughout the day, consider calendaring half-days at work where you can’t go online or make a pledge to email-free weekends with an ‘auto-response’ that references this charter. If we all agreed to spend less time doing email, we’d all get less email! Give each other a break and catch up on the things your missing when your eyes are glued to your smartphone and, don’t forget to smell the roses.