Blogs - Archive

Top tips from Mesmo Consultancy (and Associates) on how to save time and improve business and personal performance by ‘Taking Control of your Inbox’ and using proper business email etiquette.

Books of note

Sunday June 7th, 2015, 5:16 pm

June books of note

June books of note

Five books caught our attention over the last few weeks.

  1. The Power of Meditation by Sharon Salzberg.  A 28 day plan to reduce stress and induce a calmer approach to life.  It’s relatively jargon free and easy to follow.  Does it work?  Ask us next month!
  2. It’s All in Your Head:True Stories of Imaginary Illness by Suzanne O’Sullivan.  A very controversial book, but provides plenty of food for thought about how we cope with illness and especially some illnesses which some like O’Sullivan, feel are psychosomatic.
  3. The Weather Experiment by Peter Moore.  Part history, part thriller.  The story of the development of weather forecasting techniques and especially the barometer.
  4. A Curious Friendship by Anna Thomasson.  The story of the relationship between the blue stocking Edith Oliver and bright young thing Rex Whistler.  Again a historical drama which is engrossing if not a little long.
  5. Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung: A companion by Stewart Spencer and Barry Millington.  OMG you may well say.  This is because one of the team is going to hear The Ring later this year.

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June articles of note – impact of email overload on well-being

Sunday June 7th, 2015, 4:49 pm

There was a mixed bag last month, comprising yet again email overload and well-being, email scandals, and fonts in relation to email etiquette.

Well-being and email overload.

There have been several studies and hence articles on the importance of good posture when sitting at your PC/mobile device and not sitting for too long.    Indeed this was underpinned when a client spoke of needing to see an osteopath because of reading their emails on their laptop whist sitting on an office sofa.  Suffice to say the employer is paying for their back treatment. Three articles of note on this topic.Typewritter

1) Get out of your chair if you want to stay healthy.  We are being urged to spend more time standing up and walking and talking instead of email and phoning.

2) I am a sitting addict.  Excellent advice of use of standing desks.

3) Back pain is rising sharply. Results of a recent survey by the British Chiropractic Association reveal that this is a result of our sedentary life style (at work and home).

How often do we write about looking outside the inbox and talking rather than emails and especially within a five desk radius?

Email scandal of the month

4) Leaked email from the Bank of England.  A lesson in email etiquette as they send highly confidential information to the wrong recipient!

What do we always say about checking it’s the right Jane Smith?

5) The email habits of ten successful CEOs.  These range from Jeff Bezos to Arianna Huffington.  Techniques include no emails for half an hour before bed, prioritising and insisting that the sender puts a clear indication of when action is needed.  Some interesting lessons.  The article also highlights some sad soles who rise very early to deal with their email.

Wonder why they just don’t try to reduce the email overload per se?

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Email etiquette – listen

Sunday June 7th, 2015, 3:25 pm

Michael Einstein of Email Overload Solutions recently wrote about listening properly before replying.   For us at Mesmo Consultancy this so resonated with all we say about think before hitting send we wanted to share it with you (and for which he gave us permission).

Listening is a critical part of communication. It is an activity many people take for granted yet perform quite poorly.  Active listening can help greatly improve your communication with others.

It is very easy to “hear” but can be very difficult to actually “listen”. Have you ever found yourself planning a response to someone before they even finished speaking?

Has listening just become a game of waiting for the time for when someone stops speaking so that you can start talking yourself? This is where active listening can be improve your communication abilities. Stephen R. Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change”, wisely said:

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply”.

How many time have you hit send before you have really read and thought through what the sender is saying?   Here are Mesmo Consultancy’s top five tips to improve your email listening and communication skills.

Email listening

Email listening

  1. Practice slow and quiet email etiquette. Wait at least five minutes before replying to an email and if needs be re-read the email.
  2. Check that you have read to the end of the email.
  3. Review your response before hitting send and ensure you have answered all the questions/points raised.
  4. Avoid complex words and long sentences which others may not understand.
  5. Use the 3S’s of email communications:  Structured: Simple words: Succinct.

Click here to check your personal email etiquette.  For more help on listening well to improve business email communications contact us about our Brilliant Email workshops and masterclasses.

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Email overload is rampant: articles of note – May 2015

Monday May 4th, 2015, 6:24 pm

Is email yesterday’s technology and will email overload soon be a thing of the past?  Maybe for Generation K – teenagers.  However, four recent studies on email overload and email traffic suggest that this is definitely not the case see below.

Vacation email overload

Email overload

1. Email alert: full inboxes leave staff exhausted. Professor Cary Cooper pronounced that email is sapping the life out of the British workforce. It is one reason why British productivity is the lowest in the G7 group.  Germany and France are taking action to reduce the email overload malaise, but few UK based companies are doing anything. Sir Cary says ‘companies need to take drastic action’.

2.  Here are some of the findings from a fascinating new study of the email behaviour of over 2 million users by a group of researchers at Yahoo and the University of Southern California.

  • As the volume of emails received goes up, so we respond to fewer and fewer and in some cases as few as 5%.
  • Emails sent early in the day are more likely to be replied to than those sent later in the day.
  • Response times range from 13 minutes for Generations Z and Millennials and about 47 minutes for Generations X and Y.
  • Replies get shorter as the conversation goes on and the volume of emails increases.
  • Replies to emails sent over the weekend or late at night are likely to be shorter than those sent during the working day.

2.  The overall volume of emails sent and received is predicted to grow by 3% year on year between 2015 and 2019 according to the Radicati Groups latest email statistics report. This may be a small increase but nonetheless it is still up rather than down.

3.   Pointless emails are common.  A study focused on British email users  (by Sennheiser) found that of 2,000 business users one third felt there was always someone in their team who sent pointless emails (eg the photo copier is broken) when an alternative more effective method could be used. 38% confessed to sending an email which started an email war and 25% said they used email instead of talking because they were emailing about a person sitting close by!

Even if you only receive half the number of emails identified in these studies that is 50 per day and 10,000+ per year.  If you are a manger the volume will be higher and the email overload more pronounced.

There are important lessons to be drawn from these studies, not least about email etiquette, the risk of missing important emails as email traffic increases and the impact of email overload on business and personal productivity and finding key emails when needed to support your reason for actions taken.

Simply banning email is not a solution as the Grossman Group pointed out.  The solution is to change the email culture and enable people to use email more responsibility.  Know when to stop an email chain and talk, no reply is required, etc.

These are challenges which Mesmo Consultancy regularly addresses in its email management training webinars, workshops and one-to-one coaching.  If these are issues you face then why not call us now to hear how we have helped other clients like you?

 

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Email signature block – keep it short and simple

Sunday April 26th, 2015, 3:52 pm

Recently, I was asked, what makes a good email signature block. Here is my advice.

Email signature blocks should be as short as possible. An email signature block is not an advertising campaign. This is best left to either your website or an advertisement.   The key point of an email signature block is to tell the recipient who you are and how to contact you.

Key information to include:

Email best practice: signature block

  • Your name.
  • Your organisation name and position (optional but useful).
  • Short strap line (optional).
  • Telephone number(s).
  • Website address.

Avoid:

  • All logos as they can be trapped as spam and enlarge the size of the email (making it slower to download if you are somewhere with limited connectivity). This includes the company logo, awards and social media logos.
  • Long disclaimers. There has yet to be a legal case where either their presence or absence has been of consequence.  Best practice is to add a line with a link to where the disclaimer can be found on your organisation’s website.

Some people include social media presence links which again in my opinion are optional because the signature block starts to become long. Sometimes with short emails the signature block takes up more lines than the email itself.  How annoy in that? For people on mobile devices, all they want is the key information.

What is you opinion on email best practice and what should and should not be included in the email signature block.

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