“Email is a vehicle for others to impose their agenda upon you. Take back control!”

In today’s episode we talk about using email effectively and properly.

Email has completely changed the way we do business over the last couple of decades.  Some changes have been for the good and some for bad.

There are some things great about email that make us wonder what we did without it yet there are some things that make it horribly wrong.  On the upside it is a great communication tool that helps us share information but that can also be bad since we get included in some many things that aren’t really important to us in the first place.

I like email as a tool for specific communication but recommend using a collaboration tool to manage the communication on your projects and save the email for important notices and to attach written notifications, etc.

As you think about this I want you to think about when the last time you got an email that was not a reply to an email you sent that provided you great value and information you needed (with the exception of the daily email from ContractingCoach.com of course).  Maybe something from a supplier telling you an order shipped or something similar that was completely one way only to give you information.  I bet it’s been some time since most email come with a hitch.

It is extremely important that we take control of our email universe so that we can avoid wasting time, avoid misunderstandings and easily document important things.

To harness your email you need to take some action in 3 areas.

First, take control of your inbox and how you interact with it.  Don’t check you emails constantly and don’t try to respond to everything immediately.  You should plan your email work to be in between completing of your primary tasks.  Allow a few minutes to check to see if anything needs immediate attention and if not move on and get back to working on your primary tasks.  You can come back later in the day and answer/delete the emails in your inbox.  You also need to turn off the notifications, they are just disruptions.  To completely take control of your inbox you need to develop a system that works for you.  There are some great tools and programs that can help.  I use a few to help me manage my email like Boomerang, IFTTT and Followupthen.  These help me keep things moving without wasting a lot of time.

[tweetthis]Email is vehicle for others to impose their agenda on you. Take back control![/tweetthis]

Second you need to make an effort to write effective emails.  Make them short and concise and easy to read.  Remember to write on a third grade level.  It makes that communication much clearer.  Talk in you normal tone.  Only copy who really need to be copied, don’t waste other’s time.

Third thing that will help is educating the people you work with on how you use email and how you would like them to communicate with you.

Take-Action Items

  1. Take back control of your email
  2. Start writing effective emails

Outline

Effective Email Use

What:

  • Email has changed the way we do business
    • Both good and bad
    • Can be a huge distraction

Why:

  • If we manage email effectively we can:
    • Avoid wasting time
    • Avoid misunderstandings
    • Easily document things to our teams

How:

  • Take back control
    • Read email between tasks not during
    • Turn off notifications
    • Get a system
  • Communicate effectively
    • Write good emails (we will review in another Coachcast)
    • Only include necessary people
    • Keep them short and a single topic
  • Educate
    • Teach your team how to use email effectively
    • Let others know how you use email
    • Use a collaboration tool for your projects

 

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