Posted Wednesday May 15th, 2013, 10:18 pm by Dr Monica Seeley
Another easy win to help reduce your own and your organisation’s carbon footprint is by using proper business email etiquette. This not only helps you convey the right message right first time and hence reduces the unnecessary rounds of email ping-pong. It also helps reduce the size of the actual email. Again the smaller the email and the fewer the emails the less resources needed to run your inbox, and thus the lower your carbon footprint. Here are five ways by using brilliant email etiquette you can contribute to this week’s Green office campaign.
- Shorten the content of your emails by 10 to 25%.
- Edit emails you forward and delete all unnecessary previous entries.
- Say it in the subject-line where it is short.
- Plan ahead and make sure you have asked the right questions and given the right information for the recipient to reply fully.
- Avoid email discussion, instead talk.
For more tips on reducing email overload to reduce your carbon footprint see last’s years blog.
If sustainability is one of your key business values and objectives, why not talk to us about our Smart Email Management training workshops to support your sustainability programme. Meanwhile, why not click here to sign up for our free monthly e-briefing?
Posted Tuesday May 14th, 2013, 9:44 pm by Dr Monica Seeley
It’s Green Office Week this week – 13 to 17 May. Reducing email overload can also reduce your carbon footprint. The larger the inbox the more resources you need to run it, hence the higher your carbon footprint. Here are my top five ways to contribute to Green office week by reducing email overload.
- Reduce the number of emails you send by 20%. This will reduce the number you receive.
- Confine the number of people in both the To and Cc address line. This too will limit the number and hence size of your inbox.
- Send links rather than complete files. This will also help you stay within mailbox limits.
- Hit the delete key more often.
- Think before hitting send – could you talk rather than email. It’s better for your health and reduces the email overload.
Tomorrow the focus will be email etiquette to reduce your carbon foot print. For more tips on how reducing email overload also reduces your carbon footprint see last’s years blog.
Meanwhile, if sustainability is one of your key business values and objectives, why not talk to us about our Smart Email Management training workshops to support your sustainability programme.
Posted Sunday April 28th, 2013, 6:30 pm by Dr Monica Seeley
Here are the ten Outlook functions most people find most useful for saving time. They are based on Outlook 2007 (with notes for 2003 users). Using Outlook can also help you reduce email overload by filtering emails you do not need to see in your main inbox (eg using rules and views).
1) Switch off all new email alerts
Go to Tools/Options. From the Preferences tab, click on the Email Options button/Advanced email options. Remove the tick in all the boxes in the panel marked ‘When new items arrive in my inbox’.
2) Create a task/calendar entry from an email
Drag and drop the email from the inbox on either the Task or the Calendar icon.
To create a simple rule, right click on the email, select Create Rule and complete the Create Rule box.
For more complex rules go to Tools/Rules and Alerts and use the Rules Wizard. Select the type of rule and then complete Stage 2 by clicking on the hyperlinked phrases eg people.
4) Colour to organise your inbox
Click on an email from the person whose emails you want to highlight. Go to Tools/Organize. In the Ways to Organize Inbox dialogue box click on Using Colors
5) Quick Parts (only available in 2007 and upwards)
To save and re-use templates of frequently used text, type the text in a new email. Highlight it and click on Insert/Quick Parts/Save Selection to Quick Parts Gallery. From the drop down menu pick Save.
The text is then saved and can be reused in future emails. To insert the text in a new email, click in the message area and go to Insert/Quick Parts and select the required text.
6) Reading Pane and AutoPreview
Use the Reading Pane or AutoPreview to scan quickly the content of an email. They can be set for each folder (ie on or off).
You can customise how you see your Inbox and each folder using the View menu.
Arrange By allows you to group emails, eg by Date, Subject, Sender etc. View/Arrange By and select the criteria eg From and click on Show in Groups.
8) Categorise items (email, calendar, tasks)
Click on the Categories icon and click on the one you want.
To edit the default list, pick All Categories (at the end of the list). Click on New and give category a name and select a colour by opening the Color dropdown menu.
9) Voting buttons
With a new email open, click on the Options tab and select Voting buttons.
For 2003 select the Options menu. From the Options dialogues box select Voting buttons.
10) Expiry date
Click on the down arrow at the bottom right of the More Options menu. For 2003 proceed as above and pick Expiry date from the Options dialogue box.
Posted Tuesday April 23rd, 2013, 12:00 am by Dr Monica Seeley
Email security – where is the weakest link in your business? Cyber crime continues to dominate the press. A recent report from GCHQ says that 80% of cyber attacks could have been prevented through basic computer hygiene measures such as creating strong passwords. Meanwhile a report from Quocirca suggests that targeted cyber attacks are far more common than the average business executive might imagine. The latest National Audit Office report on cyber crime suggest that one problem is the shortage of IT and cyber security professional. But is this the only
area of skills shortage to leave businesses vulnerable to cyber attacks?
One of the easiest ways to open the door to cyber criminals is through poor email security processes. For example, opening suspicious attachments, sending confidential emails to a personal email account, including highly sensitive information in an email, setting an insecure Out Of Office message. Even, simply sending the email to the wrong Jack Jones.
Many senior executives still have their emails monitored by their PA/EA. There is nothing wrong in this practice so long as proper email governance is in place. For instance, how are confidential emails handled, what measures are in place to reduce the risk of exposing the PA/EA to information which they neither want to see nor should see (no matter how trusted they are). A survey Mesmo Consultancy conducted on email security revealed that in fact senior executives were indeed high risk takers when it comes to emailing sensitive and confidential information.
When was the last time you educated yourself and your employees in basic email security? Our surveys indicate that less than 40% of employees have ever received any email security training. Yet most organisations now spend millions on email and internet security technology. So where is the weakest link?
April’s e-briefing focused on email security and contains some top tips to reduce the risk of a cyber attack (random or targeted) through careless use of email. It is no good waiting until after a cyber attack to train your employees. That is simply bolting the stable door after the horse has bolted. It is not just the IT profession that has a skills shortage. Business users urgently need educating about how to manage the risk of cyber crime from careless use of email.
Email security is just one part of our Smart Email Management workshops and masterclasses. If you are concerned about how vulnerable you and your business is to a cyber attack through email, please contact us for a short free telephone consultation.
Posted Friday April 12th, 2013, 9:20 am by Dr Monica Seeley
Tackling email overload can be a challenge. But not for some. From the e-babes ( Marsha Egan and myself), and as promised, here are fifty top tips from fifty top PAs and EAs at the recent Executive Secretary Live Conference organised by Lucy Brazier of Executive Secretary magazine.
Our thanks to all who contributed to our session on Taming the Email Tiger and to this blog with their top tips.
|“Action by, date” in the email subject line.|
|Get out of the habit of checking email every 5 min!|
|When writing an email, the last thing I fill out is the “to” or “cc” field, so in case I hit send button too early.|
|How do you send the calendar schedule as part of the email – only showing busy/free times?|
|Close the inbox to look at when you choose to – but set a ‘new item alert’ for those from the remotely working executive and train the executive!|
|Read Marsha’s book!|
|The knowledge that sending each email costs more global energy and therefore causes more environmental damage than sending a letter. (It’s because of location of server (?), power they use etc to process) makes me cut the number of emails I send.|
|To reduce ‘cc’ traffic when you have actioned emails on behalf of your director, change the subject line to include an eye catching statement such as (C have actioned P). Your boss can then just delete/move on to the next email!|
|When emailing external people: include the company’s name in the beginning of the subject line so they immediately know who they are being contacted by.|
|Colour code emails from most senior people.|
|It is easy for me to open emails which I am going to do during the day, others I stay unread for another day. Open emails help me to see information and after their end I close them. So the goal is not to have open email after work day.|
|Turn off emails that go to two places, eg yours and shared mailbox – one place = read once!|
|I indicate in subject list of the box what action I have taken or what needs doing.|
|Use categories, throw out the ones in outlook and create your own headings that relate to your role – invaluable.|
|Take an electronic day off with your day off (no email especially).|
|Delete emails which don’t have any importance.|
|Have a standard closure in your signature.|
|Using quick parts created in email, ie requesting travel arrangements, employee movements, colour code emails to identify Directors.|
|Don’t check/reply to emails out of office hours or people become to expect you to be working and contactable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.|
|Drag emails into tasks to set deadlines.|
|Use Outlook categories when you drag and drop your inbox to action folders. So when you plan your day and it’s time to action ‘travel’ all travel emails are categorised in one place in outlook.|
|Write your email content and put the recipient name in last to avoid sending it prematurely.|
|When I check the mail I like to put the red flag and have the mail in to do list.|
|Don’t ping pong in emails for diary dates. I set up dates in doodle poll and send a link for all recipients to advise on their availability via doodle poll (www.doodle.com)|
|Put useful links either on notes, or into quick parts. Colourise inbox against your VIPs mails and use quick one click to action type of action in colour.|
|The control delete buttons so emails go completely rather than just into your deleted items. Also block sender so that goes into junk email.|
|For conferences/questions from participants: I pre-prepare std/route responses (we tend to have same Q’s all the time!) in order and then copy & paste and adjust as required. This saves a lot of time for our big meetings!|
|Turn off email notifications – has been my biggest time saver.|
|Don’t send emails outside off office hours. People read them on their smart phones and they appear ‘read’ in the computer mailboxes so they forget to respond.|
|Move your message to your task list.|
|For people working in global organisations, set up the delay send option so that your emails don’t get sent until their working hours. Also works well for people who do emails over weekend. It means that people with phones etc don’t feel the need to answer the emails in the evenings/weekends in response to their boss’s email. Also create a folder for meeting request and then set up a rule to send them all to the folder.|
|The delete button for unsolicited sales emails that do not interest me within 5 seconds.|
|Direct sorting into folders: personal/family & friends; boss, management group; newsletters|
|Colour code categories: travel required, invoices, expenses, to do, meeting set up, event, to follow|
|I’ve had my notifications turned off for a few months now – it’s been a great stress management tool. I do have a rule that my manager’s emails have a pop up notification – this allows me to prioritise his request over other actions. This works when if it’s something urgent. PS Luckily my manager has a wonderful email etiquette – so the emails form him are mostly actions, those that need to get done fairly quickly.|
|Attachments – copy and paste basic attachments into body of text – so it is easier to read as opposed to opening item up.|
|My tip is: never answer first on emails where you are in cc, but your response is required. Wait for person who is in ‘to’ field answer and then, if needed, do it yourself. Sure that the answer can hugely change!|
|Sending a networking directory excel file as a link (1) share excel workbook, then close (2) right hand click on file name on network drive and ‘create short’ (3) after shortcut created, right hand click, select send as email (4) when opened by receiver, changes can be (?) to file and can be ‘saved’ (don’t do save as). Works with Lotus Notes and can only be ?? if users and recipients have access to network drive/disc (?). Set up a rule on outlook or lotus notes that emails ‘from’ or with certain subject goes directly into a named folder, eg flight bookings.|
|I actually put emails in calendar entries to get them out of my inbox.|
|Use rules on Outlook for flyers, newsletters, travel to go to the named folder.|
|When I am chasing information for Director’s report which I have a time constraint on, I use the flag in outlook, which puts an alert in their inbox that I need the info by a certain date/time.|
|Attend a talk given by Marsha and Monica!|
|Use flags and reminders – action/discuss with boss. But keep in inbox so will continue with this but more out of inbox.|
|Switching off email notifications, meaning less distractions. Create rules – emails I’m cc’d in automatically in one folder, out-of-office go into another.|
|Use of draft box for important emails. Write, leave for a few minutes, check again before sending.|
|I’ve created a to-do-folder and put every email in, when I am going to fulfill the task I move it back to the empty inbox in order that I can see this email.|
|Print emails that need to be actioned and they can be added as a physical to do.|
|Use your OOO to manage expectations about when to expect a reply.|
|Use colour coding for email to be actioned.|
Click here ExecSecLive 2013 tips to download as a pdf.
Do you have a tip on either how to control email overload or corporate email etiquette that we have not yet published?