Are you buried in your inbox? Are you inundated with messages every time you check your e-mail? If you can answer “no” to those questions, you are in a class by yourself. Most of us receive more e-mail in a day than we can reasonably handle. Instead of using precious time building our business and developing our client relationships, we are busy culling through e-mail to find the meaningful messages and deleting the rest.
There is little you can do to control the number of messages you receive, but you can manage the e-mail that you send out. If enough of us take the time to consider “to send or not to send,” we could see e-mail numbers drop.
Here are a few ways to cut back on unnecessary e-mail.
1. Consider who needs to receive your message and limit the recipients. If you are working on a project with a colleague, does the entire office need to be informed of your every move? Some people copy everyone in the workplace just to be on the safe side. (There is another expression used to explain this practice, but since it is not polite, I’ll leave it to your imagination.) Just copy those who need to know.
2. Think before you hit “reply to all.” When you receive notice of a meeting and are asked to reply, your response only needs to go to the person who sent the message. I recently received an invitation to an event and the sender was savvy enough to say, “Please send your response to me. Do not reply to all.” More of us should remind our recipients not to reply to all.
3. When your e-mail message begins to look like the great American novel, stop. The time has come to pick up the phone or call a meeting. The key to email is to be brief and to the point. It is not meant for discussion.
4. No matter how funny that joke or how bizarre that video that someone sent you, spare your business friends and colleagues unless they have given you permission to pass along such trivia.
Limiting the number of messages you send and being thoughtful regarding to whom you send them is just another way of showing courtesy and respect for others.
If you have any suggestions for ways to reduce the massive amount of e-mail that goes out every day, please share them with me. With your permission, I will add them to my list and pass them on.
Here’s to more manageable inboxes!
Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.
Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions. Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.
Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.