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.

Email etiquette to protect your professional image over the silly season

Wednesday December 13th, 2017, 2:34 pm

It’s that time of year when it’s easy to become complacent and let our email etiquette slip.  Coming back from a festive lunch (drink or even dinner) you decide to clear the email backlog and are in a frivolous mood.  Then there are all those Santa hats and jumpers you wear.

To some extent they are OK because they are here today and gone tomorrow and few remembers what you were wearing a week ago. However, like a puppy and kitten, an email is for life despite your best endeavours to recall it!

Here are five top tips on business email etiquette to preserve your professional image when all about you are losing their heads.

  1. Never email under the influence of drink (before, during or after Christmas) when your judgement and vision could be impaired.
  2. Delay sending any emails by two minutes.  Either manually save them as drafts or write a rule to delay sending by two minutes.
  3. Add a sentence of best wishes, by all means but that’s it.  Keep to your usual professional greeting and sign off.   Leave all the cosy ones for social emails (eg Hiya, kisses and emoticons).
  4. Keep you Out of Office message safe and simple. Give away as little information to prying eyes as possible. Be bold, tell senders that all your emails are being deleted over the festive break and to resend anything important on your return.
  5. Be extra vigilant about any unfamiliar emails from both unknown senders and existing contacts where the email has an unusual subject-line/content. They may have been hacked and the hackers are now extending their tentacles. Such unusual emails nearly always are either taking you to bogus websites to capture your personal details or the start of a cyber attack.

You might also want to avoid letting colleagues (and friends) post images of you on their social media sites with those fun hats etc.  Although you can delete your posts, you do not not have control over other people’s sites.  2018 might be when you look for a new job and recruiters often look in depth at candidates internet foot prints before making a judgement.

 

 

 

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Declutter to reach Inbox Zero over the festive season

Wednesday December 13th, 2017, 2:29 pm

Inbox Zero

Inbox zero was a phrase coined by Merlin Mann to epitomise email efficiency.  Now it is regarded by many include Mann as perhaps a way to waste time yet still feel like you are working hard. However at this time of year we can all profit from spending a little time de-cluttering and getting ready for the new year.   In this context reaching ‘inbox zero’ makes an excellent goal.  Here are five quick ways to clean and de-clutter your inbox to reach inbox zero over the festive season

  1. Move all emails over two weeks old to a folder outside your inbox. Basically anything that old is well past its sell-by date. If it isn’t you can be sure that the sender will re-contact you.
  2. Start the folder name with full stop and it will sit at the top of the folder list. Alternatively for Outlook users, you can add it to your Favorites.
  3. Review what is left and decide what else to move out and what still needs action. Use the Conversation view/Sort by Subject/Sender etc to sort.
  4. Set aside time each day to action any emails which really, really warrant your attention. Highlight those for attention after the break (move to a ‘Pending’ folder, create a task etc).  With many people in festive mood, some emails might gain more attention if left until January 2nd!
  5. Move all the remaining emails out to the folder created in Step 1.

By now you should have a relatively clean inbox. If not – simply declare Email Bankruptcy.

Still too many emails in your inbox and no place to put them?  Why not ask Mesmo Consultancy to run a Smart Email Management Masterclass in the new year?

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How teachers cope with email overload and email stress

Sunday November 19th, 2017, 8:41 pm

An increasing source of stress for teachers is juggling with the pressures of email overload and lesson preparation.

Email overload

These facts were confirmed by a recent Mesmo Consultancy survey looking at the email culture of several leading UK independent schools.  Responses from over 300 academic and support staff identified three key issues: 

1.  The Instant Reply Syndrome (IRS) – the perception that fast response is required

2.  The volume of daily email requiring their attention

3.  How to prioritise their time – balancing being responsive to email with teaching duties

This article provides some email best practice solutions which work both in schools and business. Click here for more.

It was first published in Independent Education Today in July 2017

Here is what one client said after working with them.

I enjoy reading your blogs and you have definitely made a difference to so many people with keeping the email at bay.

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Business Email Etiquette for urgent emails

Thursday November 16th, 2017, 9:51 pm

When colleagues receive 70+ emails per day, what is the most effective business email etiquette to draw their attention to a critical and urgent email?  There are several ways such as priority markers and read receipts.  Neither are that effective because they can appear rude and annoying, and be overlooked especially as some senders use them for everything.

A follow-up phone call?  A very good idea but what if the person is out of phone contact.

How about sending the email so that the subject-line shows in red in the recipient’s inbox?  This is the business email etiquette one client uses and finds it very effective. Here is how it work.

To send an email that will appear red in the recipient’s inbox.

1. Open a new email

2. From the Tags menu block click on Follow Up and select Custom... from the drop down menu.

3. In the Custom dialogue box, click on the Flag For Recipients. Click on Reminder and set the date and time you want the recipient to be reminder. After that date the email turns red.

 

Note – If you include a ‘Flag for Me’ (top half of the dialogue box), the reminder will also show up on your Task List.

4. To make the email Red on receipt, set the reminder date to a date and time in the past (ie before you send it).

As with all such attention seeking email etiquette practices, it is vital that you agree whatever process you employ with the other person prior to using it, otherwise you risk coming across as arrogant and too clever by half!

What’s your preferred business email etiquette to highlight important emails?

 

To learn more ways like this about how to send emails which attract the recipient’s attention without appearing rude attend on one of our Smart Email Management Masterclasses.  These are run in-company as either conventional classroom sessions or webinars.  For more information call or email us now.

 

 

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Business Email Overload and Etiquette articles of note – November 2017

Thursday November 16th, 2017, 9:51 pm

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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