What colour is your email: red, yellow or blue?

Wednesday November 25th, 2015, 9:34 pm

‘People don’t read my emails’. This is one of most frequently cited sources annoyance. It begs the question who is to blame? The sender for poor email etiquette and not writing in such a way as to make it easy for the recipient to know either what you want or by when. Alternatively, is it the recipient who probably has 50+ unread emails in their inbox and just missed yours. Senders always blame the recipient’s for poor email etiquette and inbox management. Recipients always say they can instantly spot important emails regardless of how many are in their inbox!

Red card

Red email etiquette

In life, it is always important to make sure we manage and have control over what is within our power to do so. With email, this means how we write and signpost our emails. Do you include a priority marker? This is downright rude and nine out of ten times your email will be given a red card.  After all we all hate aggressive behaviour. Instead take the assertive approach and at the end of the subject-line add ‘action by ….’

Bearing in mind that many people read their emails on a mobile device, they often don’t see past the first sentence. If they are reading emails on a full size PC, they may also be time poor. A rambling email can therefore easily be given a yellow card and parked for later reading.

Whereas emails written in newspaper style and which in the first sentence tell the reader what the email is about will get a blue card and be dealt with promptly.

Other aspects of:

  • Red card emails are: no greeting, sign-off, capitals and spelling mistakes.
  • Yellow card emails are: too long, unstructured and have spelling mistakes. Life is too short so let’s leave this in the pending folder.
  • Blue emails are: cool, calm and properly structured and include a call to action.

Click here to further referee your email etiquette and what colour card the recipient might assign to your emails and hence whether or not it will be answered in a timely and proper manner.

See Brilliant Email: how to win back time and increase your productivity by Monica Seeley for more tips on how to capture and maintain recipient’s attention.

For more time saving tips and hints why not buy a copy of one of our books or let us run a Smart Email Management workshop for you and your colleagues.
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