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Showing items tagged with "Mesmo Consultancy" - 38 found.

Stop Irritating Emails to Reduce Business Email Overload

Posted Tuesday August 28th, 2018, 8:09 pm by

Most of us suffer from chronic business email overload. The new 2018 Adobe Email Research revealed that the most irritating email phrases include:

  • Not sure if you saw my last email …
  • Per my last email …
  • Any update on this …

There is little doubt that these are words which make the blood pressure rise and can destroy good relationships. The question is why does it happen?

Mesmo Consultancy’s research indicates that we receive roughly one new email every five to seven minutes of which over 50% are deemed unnecessary by the receiver.   After a one hour meeting about 12 new emails are now on top of the existing backlog. If like many you spend at least two hours a day in meetings that’s 24 new emails added to the already bulging inbox. Little wonder business email overload is a cause of high blood pressure and sleepless nights. It’s not uncommon to see 500+ unread emails in the inbox.

Whose fault is it that emails are not answered and what can be done to reduce the need for these highly irritating email follow-up?  Does every email sent add business value or instead flatter the sender’s personal ego? Are we so disorganised and have such a high degree of email overload that it’s impossible to see the wood from the trees?

Sender’s perspective

There are a number of reasons why your email has may have been overlooked. Many related to common sense business email etiquette. Here are the top five we see most often and tips to overcome them to save time to reduce business email overload and hence improve business performance.

 1.  Email is too long. You are time poor and wrote the sentences as they came into your head.  You didn’t have to re-read and revise it.

Tip #1 – Use the 5S Principle of Business Email Etiquette for writing good emails – keep it structured, short, succinct, spell-checked and simple formatting. If appropriate start with a one line executive summary.

2.  No clear indication of what action is expected. Did you use the correct protocol for To and Cc and make it clear in the subject-line if any action is expected and by when?

Tip #2 – Always put the recipient in the To box if you expect action. Use the subject-line to be explicit if there is a deadline for action.

3.  Sent well outside normal office hours. Now it is buried in the pile of other unread emails .

Tip #3 – Draft outside office hours but only send within normal office hours.

4.  Wrong medium for the message. Oh dear we are so addicted to email that we forget there are other ways to communicate and especially if the message is urgent.

Tip #4 – Pick the right medium for your message, for example if it’s urgent phone/text message/walk and talk. Look outside the inbox for discussions, for example using a collaborative platform, conference call etc.

5.  Love the sound of your own voice. In the days of silent open plan offices the easiest way to chat is by email. Some people just like to look busy by emailing.

Tip #5 – Take a look at your inner self and ask why you are sending the email, what purpose is it serving? To satisfy your own ego or add real business value?

Receiver’s perspective

Why did you ignore that email? Here are the top five reasons we see when coaching people to manage their email more efficiently

1.  Email overload – too much email. You need to take control of what your receive and if needs be use filters to send less important emails directly to folders.

Tip #1 – Audit your inbox and reduce the number of emails you receive. Unsubscribe, use filters and remember it’s OK to say ‘No thank you’ to colleagues when included in a circulation list.

2.  No adequate way to spot quickly emails from key contacts. With an average of 60 plus new emails a day, how do you spot those from important contacts and ensure they are dealt with?

Tip #2 – Implement a way of flagging/highlighting incoming emails from key contacts.

3.  Email is too long and unclear what is expected. It really is not your fault if the sender rambles on, asks too many questions in one email etc.

Tip #3 – Push back. Don’t ignore the email hoping it will go away. Instead be bold and ask what is required and if needs be prioritise.

4.  Too little time to check emails properly. We are all time poor and you need to prioritise your day.

Tip #4 – Make a meeting with yourself every day dedicated to dealing properly with your inbox instead of just surfing and skimming the content.

5.  Easily distracted by new emails. You have a batch from yesterday, the meeting you have just attended and ping, you are distracted every five minutes as yet another new email arrives. Little wonder you probably have 500+ emails in your inbox.

Tip #5 – Turn off all those new email alerts. If needs be set one only for emails from the boss!

Whose Really At Fault

Over arching all these is the question of priorities and an organisational culture cover my backside culture.  Given these different pressure points between the sender’s and the receiver’s perspective it is little wonder that emails go unanswered. Neither party is to blame, it is a combination of mismatches in personalities, styles and priorities. Hopefully these tips will help reduce the email overload caused by those annoying and irritating email follow-ups.

Can we Help You and Your Organisation?

For more ways to improve performance through more effective email management why not come on one of Mesmo Consultancy’s Smart Email Management masterclasses or workshop

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Email overload and GDPR

Posted Sunday May 13th, 2018, 8:36 pm by

Email overload will increase the risk of a breach of GDPR.  Email overload and GDPR is like a red rage to a bull.  Email management and compliance with GDPR starts at the individual user level. You can have all the organisational policies and technology infrastructures in place but if individuals are sloppy then there is a high and un-managed risk of breaching GDPR. It is not uncommon now for business executives and their PAs and EAs to be expected to  handle over 100 emails per day.  As business email overload continues to rage unabated so too the risk of making an error and sharing personal data by email which really should be kept private.

Whilst your organisation will have a GDPR policy and hopefully the relevant IT infrastructure, here are four ways every individual email user can help to improve compliance and protection of personal data.

  1. Check, check and re-check to whom you are really sending that email. Don’t rely on the auto address function because it cannot distinguish between Matt French at ABC.com and Matt French at XYZ.com. It will just pick the one you use most frequently.
  2. Use the email software functionality to help you limit the above risks, eg Quick Steps in Outlook.
  3. When forwarding an email, review the whole chain no matter how long, to ensure there is nothing you should not be sharing with the new recipient.
  4. Check old emails for data you should not be keeping. Again use the software tools to help you.

How well are you training your staff about effective business email management and GDPR? Can you afford to pay up to 4% of turnover (or £17M) for breaching the new GDPR Act?

These are just four of at least ten ways you can mitigate the impact of email overload on GDPR

Call us now for more information about Mesmo Consultancy’s ‘Email Management and GDPR’ workshops and consultancy services.

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At the mercy of your inbox? How to cope with email overload

Posted Friday November 17th, 2017, 10:04 pm by

Email is over 30 years old and hasn’t changed that much since its inception. But over the years we have been letting it take over our lives. It started out as a basic electronic messaging system, and we now use it to communicate everything – from the simplest to the most complex messages.  This blog reviews some of different approaches to managing email overload and their pros and cons, including inbox zero and the goldfish techniques.

Published in The Guardian November 2017

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Business Email Overload and Etiquette articles of note – November 2017

Posted Thursday November 16th, 2017, 9:51 pm by

For the last five years, Inbox Zero was the holly grail for many who wanted to save time dealing with email. But did it really help and reduce email overload?  Is your business email etiquette and social media footprint helping or hampering your chances of a new job? How quickly can you spot fake news? These are some of the topics we highlight for this month.

1. What is the best way to manage your inbox and email overload? Over the years many different approaches to email management have been touted as the salvation for everyone suffering from business email overload. These include Inbox zero which many pursued as the holy of grail of business email management. Now Merlin Mann its inventor doubts its effectiveness and suggest that it might indeed be a complete waste of time. So what are we left with, the sledge hammer or goldfish approaches? In this Guardian guest blog, Monica reviews the options.

2.Eight email (etiquette) mistakes which bug your colleagues. Adding kisses and emoticons, not including a greeting and informal content are just some of the things you might be doing with email which annoys your colleagues. This is what a recent study by CV-Library revealed. Sending emails well out-side normal office hours is also very annoying. None of this is new but these are also business email etiquette habits which might be costing you your next job (including when emailing recruitment companies).

Check your business email etiquette using the Mesmo Consultancy on-line analytical tool. It is so easy to fall into sloppy habits as we work under increasing time pressures. Make sure this is not happening to you and that your business email etiquette is not jeopardising your next job.  For more tips see the Mesmo Business Email Etiquette video the Five S Formula for Writing Effective Emails.

3. Deep clean your internet activity. Yes, the first port of call for recruiters is often the internet. What will they find out about you? Old social media posts which you forgot to remove. One of us was recruiting for a CEO. After finding information about a potential candidate they phoned a business associate who might know more. Yes, you guessed, the candidate did not make it past the first round.  You cannot remove all the content for example reputable news content. However, you can clean up your social media posts as this article explains.

4. Corporate leaders: keep your Yammering in check. It is not just the Millenials and Snowflakes that need to be mindful of what they post on the web. CEOs too can sometimes wreak havoc with their posts as Jean- Sébastien Jacques CEO of Rio Tinto found. It is easy to get carried away by the ease of posting and one’s own self-importance. In the process as Mr Jacques and others have found they can reveal too much personal information and sensitive data which causes mayhem. On the other hand there is a line of thought which says there is no such thing as bad publicity. It’s a very fine dividing line as these articles have demonstrated and which need treading with great care and attention.

5. Spotting fake news. Pre the web, we used to say there are lies and dam lies. We were taught to study the statistics used and look for inconsistencies etc. Whilst this is still a vital skill, the challenge is how to spot news on social media which is fake. Here is an excellent concise guide on how to do it.

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Sleep Well to Reduce Business Email Overload

Posted Friday October 20th, 2017, 9:09 am by

What would you rather have – a good night’s sleep or win the lottery? Choose the former to improve your well-being and happiness (and reduce business email overload).  Sleep is now recognised as one, if not the main, contributor to our well-being. This is according to the latest survey from National Centre for Social Research. When you are rested, your self-esteem is higher, you are more relaxed and perform more effectively. This is also what sports psychologists have found when preparing sportsmen and women for big events.

What has this to do with reducing business email overload? Ironically, the blue light from those beloved mobile devices has been found to be the most significant cause of a poor night’s sleep. The two key reasons being:

  • The blue light supresses melatonin which is the hormone key to a good night’s sleep.
  • Your brain does not have a proper rest. Answering emails and checking social media makes the brain feel its needs to keep working.

Despite the growing body of research showing how checking emails etc late at night is detrimental to our well-being, the perennial comment in workshops is: ‘my colleagues/boss work in a different time zone and I need to be available’.

Stress and mental health are key areas of concern for most organisations. Business email overload and the constant distraction from digital alerts remain amongst the top ten stressors. This is due to many factors including:

  • FOMO (fear of missing out)
  • Email/digital addiction
  • Poor organisational email culture.

During the recent Overload 2017 webinar speakers such as Lawrence Ampofo and Dan Calisata highlighted ways to create a healthier digital communications culture. For example, using mindfulness and setting boundaries outside which people are not expected to be available. You cannot change culture in isolation but you can start to influence other people’s behaviour and question theirs when they expect you to violate normality. Once you start to make improvements then is the time to collect data to use to develop a business case for changing the wider email culture (perhaps just across your division).

Doing nothing to reduce business email overload is simply not an option these days. Not only will it ultimately damage your personal health it will deter others from working in the organisation and especially ‘Millenials’ and ‘Snowflakes’. Both expect more life-work balanced organisations. They do not see a job for life and if the organisational culture does not suit they will move elsewhere.

Here are seven ways to improve the quality of your sleep – yet stay on top of your inbox and reduce business email overload.

  1. Set boundaries outside which you do not deal with work emails.
  2. Use your Out of Office Message if needs be to manage sender expectations.
  3. Switch off at least one hour before going to bed.
  4. Leave all digital devices outside the bedroom.
  5. Keep pen and paper by the bed if you need to make notes (for example your mind is churning with things to do tomorrow).
  6. Use a conventional alarm clock rather than the one on your digital device.
  7. Read a conventional paper-based book rather than e-book.

It can be hard to switch off, one way is to start by creating digital-free time during the day.  For example, at meal times and whilst shopping. Then build-up so that ultimately you have a digital-free day over the weekends.

Other resources to help you include:

If you (or your team) need more help reducing business email overload whilst improving well-being and productivity, email or phone us  now.

What are your top tips for improving the quality of your sleep?

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