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Showing items tagged with "Email behaviour" - 5 found.

Is email the only way? Thinking outside the inbox.

Posted Monday February 5th, 2018, 11:14 am by

Is email the only way?  We now have an array of digital communications from social media to the phone.  Last week a client complained at being emailed by another colleague who sat just five desk away.  How often does this happen to you? We have a love hate relationship with email: its fast and easy but not always the best communications channel.  An over dependence on email at the expense of other channels is one of the primary causes of email overload.  Yet how many of us make the effort to think outside the inbox before hitting send.

Very few judging by many of my client’s experiences.  However, some leading organisations are being innovative and for example banning all internal emails and having no email days in an effort to both reduce email overload and improve communications.  These range from high-tech companies to housing associations and architects.  Others are setting boundaries outside which its OK to stop checking emails.

My email behaviour will influence your behaviour here are three ways to encourage others to think outside the inbox.

1.     Provide an incentive for them to talk to you.

2.     Use an alternative tool to provide information which people really need, for example the form for requesting leave, a sales update, for example OneNote, a collaborative platform such as Slack or Yammer.

3.     Implement email free times and email free office zones.

To reduce the email dependency (and even email addiction) above all else make sure you create the role model: next time you are about to hit send, get up and walk and talk to the person. Try responding to external email with a phone call?  You might be pleasantly surprised at the extra information you pick up to help progress that important sale.

Indeed stopping checking emails is fast becoming the new stop smoking for some.

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Email – will it survive 2015?

Posted Wednesday January 7th, 2015, 9:23 pm by

A year from now, will we still be using email as the prima face business communications tool?  That is the question I am always asked at this time of year.  In a word ‘yes’.  It is not only the most durable technological innovation, but in essence it has changed little in its thirty year life cycle.  It is still a lean and mean messaging system, all be it we have bent it to be all things to all people, (from a channel through which to manage people, make them redundant and invite them for sex tonight).   However, here are five things I do foresee with respect to email which may also help reduce email overload.

Email in 2015

The future of email

  1. The trend towards pen and paper will continue and especially as upmarket fountain pens and beautiful writing paper become objects of desire.
  2. Increasingly people will disconnect whilst on leave and after working hours following the example set in 2014.
  3. Pull rather than push information cultures will be more common as organisations switch to using social media and internal discussion forums to replace email conversations and share knowledge quickly.
  4. Email software such as Unified Inbox which can aggregate your electronic messages will come of age (from email to social media messages).
  5. Standards of email etiquette will improve as organisations seek ways to limit the fall out from cyber crime attacks like the Sony one.

Consequently, email overload may become less of a drain on people’s productivity as we learn to change our email behaviour. However, it will be important not to replace one set of bad behaviours with another.  A change in email behaviour needs to be carefully managed and we at Mesmo Consultancy will be pleased to share how with you how we have helped other organisations make this transition.

Where do you feel we will be with email by the end of 2015?  Will it still be the dominant backbone of  business communications?

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The Three Approaches to reducing Email Overload – Guest post by Dr Michael Einstein

Posted Tuesday September 16th, 2014, 10:32 am by

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Dr Michael Einstein

Many, business people receive 100 (or more) messages a day and spend 2 to 3 hours a day on email related activities, consuming 20 to 30% of their business day. Not surprisingly, many complain of suffering from email overload

Email, with its myriad of features, functions, and capabilities, combined with its high volumes and constant interruptions, has become one of the most frequently used yet continually challenging business applications for today’s workers to navigate.

So, what is the solution to managing email overload issues?  My research has found that the key strategies to deal with email overload fall into three broad approaches: organizationaltechnical, and behavioral.

1) Organizational approaches

Organizational approaches to reducing email overload incorporate the use of acceptable use policies as a way to set organization-wide rules for the appropriate, and inappropriate, use of email. These approaches are also referred to as email etiquette or netiquette, and focus on teaching people to use email more appropriately.

These can be employed differently depending upon the organization, ranging from being enforced as formalized policies, communicated as strongly suggested guidelines, or expressed as cultural norms of expected behavior. They establish a common set of values, expectations, and behaviors around the use of email, and work at the macro level, reducing the email overload burden for everyone.

2) Technical approaches

Technical approaches to reducing email overload leverage specific features and functionality in the email system itself as ways to reduce email overload. This approach has traditionally been the primary focus area for most email training programs with the goal on improving an individual’s fluency in the email system and thereby allowing people to use email more efficiently.

Research has found that there is often little formalized training on the use of email, as most people are (incorrectly) presumed to already be email proficient. Even those who deem themselves email savvy are often only familiar with a small fraction of their email system’s features and capabilities. A technical approach can yield significant improvements in individual email skills, resulting in large reductions in email overload.

For Outlook users, click here to check how savvy you are with your email software.

3) Behavioral approaches

Behavioral approaches to reducing email overload focus on improving the knowledge, actions, and behavior of individuals. This approach incorporates the areas of media competencies and email processing (triage) techniques and focus on teaching people to use email more effectively.

Media competencies include topics such as when email is an appropriate (or inappropriate) form of communication, how to build high-quality email subject lines, and writing structured message bodies. email processing (triage) encompasses focuses on strategies on how to best scan, analyze, and organize your messages. Behavioral approaches, the way you interact with email, are critical to reducing email overload.
Research has found that you must focus on improving skills across all three of these areas (Organizational, Technical, and Behavioral) in order to make the greatest improvements in your email skills and the largest reduction in email overload.

About the Author

Dr. Michael Einstein is a full-time business technology professional for a large multi-national corporation.
His doctoral dissertation was on the intersection of email processing skills, email overload, and technology training. He is very active in email overload research. For more information see his recently launched website which contains a wealth of resources to help others learn to better manage their inboxes and reduce their information and email overload levels.

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Reduce the holiday email overload to inbox zero

Posted Monday September 1st, 2014, 11:09 am by

Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.

Will Rogers

Despite packing up your inbox properly before going on vacation did your colleagues still managed to fill it for you? Did you do nothing and just let the email mount up?

Vacation email overload

Holiday email overload

Here are our top five tips to reduce the email mountain to inbox zero very quickly.  They key is accepting that the more emails you send the more you receive.

  1. Triage your emails into four categories:
    • Important (eg from clients, about key projects)
    • Nice to know about but nonessential
    • Newsletters and circulars
    • No relevance/use whatsoever
  1. Identify the chains/threads/conversations relating to important. (In Outlook 2010 use View by Conversation.) Review them before responding to ensure what you are going say will really add value. If it will not then do not reply, simply file the emails away.
  2. Locate all the newsletters and emails of no relevance and delete them.
  3. Move to a folder all the remaining emails which you think might be useful and take five minutes each day for the rest of the week to review them. After five days delete what is left.
  4. All too much? Declare email bankruptcy and wait for people to write again!

To maintain inbox zero, you now need to train your colleagues to change their email behaviour. More next month. Can’t wait, then contact us now to discuss how Mesmo Consultancy can help you.

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Changing email behaviour – guest interview with Nathan Zeldes

Posted Thursday January 23rd, 2014, 3:15 pm by

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Nathan Zeldes

How do you change email behaviour (in organisations and individuals)?  Listen to this insightful interview with Nathan Zeldes on Changing Email Culture which we have just recorded as part of the 7th International Clean Out Your Inbox week.

As Nathan tells us, change is an ongoing process and it’s important to not only keep reminding people what is email best practice for your culture but also make sure you educate your new joiners.  Technology too can help as Nathan explains, and he should know having just compiled the definitive guide of over 150 solutions available for tackling information overload (and email overload).

Nathan is also Chairman of the Information Overload Research Group

Click here for more information on Nathan Zeldes.

 

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