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.

Mental Awareness Week – Reduce Email Overload

Monday May 8th, 2017, 7:28 am

Business email overload remains one of the top ten causes of stress.  It saps our performance and well-being.  As part of Mental Health Awareness Week we are posting a series of daily tips and strategies to help you clean out your inbox and reduce the email related stress.  We thank the Mental Health Foundation for their support.

Day 1 – Why Bother?

Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed. Peter Drucker

Why bother to take time to clean out your inbox?  Primarily, because email overload is expensive.

Email overload means our potential to be productive and creative is significantly reduced. The starting point for Cleaning Out Your Inbox is to assess just how much time you can save by cleaning out your inbox this week.

Step 1 – Check the Cost of Email Overload to yourself and your business

Use our Cost of Email Misuse Calculator and dare to share the results – see below.

Step 2 – Weigh in

  • Check how many emails are in your inbox.
  • What is the date of the oldest.
  • How many are unread.

Step 3 – Move all those emails over 10 days old out of your inbox into a folder.

They are long since dead and if they are not you can be sure the sender will re-contact you.

Step 4 – Set yourself SMART goals for the week and plan how they will be achieved.

For example, do you want to find ways to spend less time dealing with email and more on revenue generating tasks, reduce the volume of emails you receive, find ways to stop people expecting an instant reply etc.

If these tips are helpful why not cajole other colleagues to join you?

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2017 World Email Ping-Pong Challenge Announced Today

Friday March 31st, 2017, 8:08 pm

Mesmo Consultancy is delighted to announce nominations are now being accepted for the 2017 World Email Ping-Pong Challenge. Email ping-pong is a ‘game’ played by millions of employees every day who send pointless emails back and forth instead of picking up the phone. But we digress – we want to find out who are the world’s best email ping pong players.

Have you been in an endless round of email exchanges or spotted a ping pong email game between two people which goes nowhere and often spirals out of control. How many emails did it involve and over how many days/weeks did it last? Tell us what is the longest round of email ping pong you have ever played or spotted? Gold, Silver and Bronze medals will be awarded and for the best two responses a copy of either ‘Brilliant Email’ or ‘Taking Control of Your Inbox’.

Please send your nominations either via email or leave your comments on this blog.

Email ping-pong is symptomatic of our addiction to email and poor business email etiquette. Often we forget to use other forms of communication which could be more efficient and solve the problem more quickly, for instance the phone or a face-to-face conversation (live or by video-link).

In January 2017 DMR stats reported that 269 billion emails are sent daily. In 2016 The Huffington Post reported that the average worker spends 6.3 hours a day on their email and The Economist highlighted that processing an email costs the average business just under $1 per email. So ten pointless rounds of email pong-pong means $10 down the sink. Played by ten pairs of employees at least five times a week – your business has now wasted the equivalent of $500 a week. Can you really afford to lose this much profit not to mention time and productivity lost?

Want to bow out of the World Email Ping Pong Challenge to improve performance and reclaim all this lost time and money? Then watch our latest Business Email Etiquette video on how to stop email ping-pong.

Here is a classic email Ping Pong Game in Action

  • Steve —> Rachel: Here’s the file we talked about
  • Rachel —> Steve: Great, what do you need from me?
  • Steve —> Rachel: Let me know what you think
  • Rachel —> Steve: I like it
  • Steve —>Rachel: Any improvements?
  • Rachel —> Steve: Perhaps, make the logo bigger, bolder
  • Steve —> Rachel: Like this?
  • Rachel —> Steve: No, that’s too big
  • Steve —> Rachel: Like this?
  • Rachel —> Steve: Yes, that’s much better
  • Steve —> Rachel: OK, anything else?
  • Rachel —> Steve: No don’t think so, but check with Zack in case he has any thoughts.

This email ping pong chain is already 12 messages long, and it will start a new ‘set’ with Zack…

If you want to save even more time managing email more efficiently why not call us now about our Brilliant Email Management workshops or buy yourself a copy of either Brilliant Email or Taking Control of Your Inbox.

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Business Email Management and Etiquette – Articles of Note March 2017

Monday March 20th, 2017, 5:56 pm

This month is like a box of licorice allsorts with articles a range or articles on business email management and business email etiquette. They including, the business email etiquette of using the Out of Office Message, best business email etiquette for opening and closing emails, social media gives us more networking but are we any happier and a new report on mobile/flexible working. Read on.

  1. How to master the almost impossible etiquette of the Out of Office Message.  Do you feel annoyed when you receive an Out of Office message and conversely does your OOO annoy others? It seems that there is a whole psychology to what we say and how we use the OOO.
  2. Is it correct to use ‘Dear Sirs’ when emailing several people? Clearly it depends on the context. of the business email as discussed in this Quora post by Dr Seeley.
  3. Why close emails with ‘best regards’. Time and again in workshops the question is asked, what is the best email etiquette to close an email? Here are some suggestions from another of Monica’s Quora posts. Don’t forget you can benchmark your own business email etiquette here.
  4. How to add accents using an IoS device (ipda/iphone etc). Business emails sent from mobile devices still need to look professional. This email etiquette tip will help you when typing names and words with accents.
  5. Internet on BA flights cleared for take-off. Do you value to opportunity to disconnect when flying and do some blue sky thinking (excuse the pun).   Well that might be about to end for those flying BA. You will either have to be strong willed or change airlines!
  6. Working anytime, anywhere: The effects on the world of work. A new report from the International Labour Organisation is invaluable for those involved in mobile/flexible working programmes. Although, it’s long and not for the faint heart and with a short attention span.
  7. How the world became hocked on social media. Social media has expanded our networks but has it made us any happier? Whilst we are better informed and connected than ever before, we are no happier and in some less happy than the generation who had no social media. This article reviews three new books on the topic and is a must for any reader tasked with research in this area. Although one cannot help feeling it’s all been said before by Sherry Turkle’s ‘Reclaiming Conversation and in ‘Alone Together’.

Did you spot an article on business email management and etiquette which you can share to help us all reduce email overload?

 

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Emails from Venus or Mars

Wednesday March 8th, 2017, 5:16 pm

On International Women’s Day, it is timely to look at back at some research carried out by Mesmo Consultancy several years ago.

Not surprisingly, it showed that the differences between how men and women operate in business (and socially) carries over into how they communicate. For an in-depth review see Gender and Communication at Work edited by Mary Barrett and Marilyn Davidson and Managing in the Email Office by Monica Seeley and Gerard Hargreaves.

Meanwhile, here is a brief summary of the main difference.

CriterionMen and emailWomen and email
DeletingOftenHoarders keeping too much just in case
Subject lineLimitedMore accurate
SalutationOften noneNearly always included
ToneTerseFlowery
ContentShorter, crisper and to the pointRambling and often flowery
GossipOften – the main culprits email media disastersRarely
ImageryRarely included, but occasional includes text-speak emoticonsOften use stationary and ‘smiley’s’
Sign-offProfessional, bland but can be terseFlowery, often uses colour and fancy fonts

What as changed. Judging by the many emails I see, very little.

For more information and especially how to bridge the gap see first published in Brilliant Email.

 

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Email addiction and mental health

Friday February 10th, 2017, 10:54 pm

Email addiction and mental health go hand in hand. Email addiction is a major cause of stress and hence poor mental health. There are plenty of organisations to help you cope with well documented sources of addiction such as alcohol and substance. But what of chronic email addiction and mental health?  Compulsive checking of emails is often hidden behind phrases like ‘my clients/colleagues expect me to be on-line’, ‘it’s part of my job’, ‘what if I miss an email from a key contact’. Are these reasons justified or just a cover up for deeper problems such as email addiction?

We all have extraordinarily busy periods when it can be prudent to check your email frequently and outside normal office hours (eg year end, major project closing, takeover bid etc). For more normal days, what does checking your email every few minutes really tell us?

Maybe you work in an email dependent culture where people rarely walk and talk. Maybe you feel insecure, anxious or lonely. In that case it is symptomatic of a mental health problem.  Tackling email addiction should be a key priority for every organisation and not just during mental health week.

At a personal level click here to check your level of email-addiction. Then use the top tips below to start breaking the cycle.

  1. Switch off all those new email alerts. Click here to see how to still see emails from key clients.
  2. Limit the number of times you check your email, for example every 30 minutes. Then gradually extend that gap by 10 minutes each week until you reach a more realistic no-email period for your role eg one hour.
  3. Fine yourself if you dip-in between the no-email periods.
  4. Celebrate every time you reach you target time with no dips.
  5. Tell people what you are doing and provide them with an incentive to talk to you instead of using email.

Still addicted, then seek more help. We can help with email addiction.  For the mental health aspects talk to a specialist.

If you work in an email dependent culture then perhaps it is time to make colleagues aware and especially the potential cost to their well-being and mental health.

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