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Business Email Management and Etiquette – 150th edition of the e-briefing. What’s changed?

Monday May 8th, 2017, 1:36 pm

The Mesmo Consultancy e-briefing on email best practice was launched in January 2003. Now as we write the 150th edition, we have witnessed a step change in the way we communicate and the available technologies, especially social media from Instagram to WhatsApp. Socially these have transformed how people communicate (or not).

But what of their impact in business. Many have been calling the end of email for years, yet still it dominates in business. Some have tried to banish its use internally yet few have succeeded. When was the last time you agreed a contract through Facebook?

Email remains one of the top ten causes of stress. In Smart Email Management Workshops these are the top five challenges people face.

  1. Volume – nothing new there. Indeed email is predicted to rise by 7% year on year, roughly the same as the stock market!
  2. Email etiquette – poor email etiquette is still a major source of anger and wasted time. Long rambling emails, tone which starts an email war, how to address the recipient and sign off in a professional manner. These are the top questions we are asked time and again. Our new video the 5S of Email Etiquette is designed to help you reduce the email stress created by using good email etiquette.
  3. Instant reply syndrome – the expectation that you will reply immediately you receive a new email. For many the instant reply syndrome is a very major causes of stress because it means juggling priorities and staying connected. In 2003 this was not a problem. People expected to wait a day or two. No one expected you stay connected 24x7x365 and especially whilst on leave. Mobile access to email changed all that, or did it. Our research reveals that often the expectation of an instant reply and 24x7x365 is a perception in the recipient’s mind. This maybe because of underlying status anxiety or email addiction.
  4. Cyber crime – this was just a tiny blip on the horizon fifteen years ago. Now it is a major problem for all organisations. We have written many times about how to reduce the obvious risks generated by email.
  5. Outlook IT Fitness – Outlook is the main email software for most organisations. It has become evermore powerful. Yet few people know how to use it really well. Click here to benchmark yourself now.

It is our belief that email is here to stay at least for the foreseeable future. However there are many exciting new tools which can be used to reduce the volume of email and especially for discussions and collaboration. Tools such as OneNote, Facebook for Business, Slack and Yammer. To use them effectively to improve performance and well-being requires change not just by individuals but from the C-Suite.

We also must start setting boundaries outside which we do not do business email (and even social media) under normal circumstances. Remember, your behaviour and attitude influences that of those you work with.

There is evidence to suggest that mobile access to email and social media has now shortened our attention span to less than that of a goldfish.

Take the lead and don’t let the technology lead you down the wrong path. Stop email overload eating into your performance.   Otherwise don’t be surprised if your level of stress and mental health declines.

If you need some help, contact us now about Mesmo Consultancy’s Smart Email Management Masterclasses which are ideal for away days, lunch and learns and training to improve performance and well-being.